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Plan early to catch rabbits on the hop over summer

News article |

Landholders and community groups are being encouraged to start planning their 2018 summer/autumn rabbit control now, and to coordinate efforts with neighbouring properties for most effective results.

Natural Resources Northern and Yorke Community Ranger Janet Moore said late summer and early autumn are the ideal time to control rabbits, as a lack of green feed and harsh environmental conditions assist to reduce rabbit numbers and the next season’s breeding stock.

“Rabbit numbers have declined across Yorke Peninsula following the release of a new strain of calicivirus RHDV1K5 in February, and the spread of calicivirus RHDV2 which was first detected in Australia in 2015,” Ms Moore said.

Ms Moore urged people not to become complacent when seeing lower numbers of rabbits.

“After a virus spreads through the population, numbers of rabbits drop quite significantly, but this can often be followed by a partial recovery.

“Whilst these viruses are a highly effective method to reduce rabbit numbers, to really control the population and enhance the effect of the virus, other control measures, such as baiting programs and warren ripping, are necessary,” Ms Moore says.

An integrated rabbit control program should ultimately focus on the destruction and removal of warren systems and shelter, as this significantly impacts the ability of rabbits to breed and rebound; simply laying bait will not work in isolation.

Ms Moore said neighbouring properties which form groups to manage the rabbit problem together can access technical assistance from Natural Resources Northern and Yorke staff, and discounted bait through participating rural agriculture supply stores located across the Peninsula.

“Encouraging cooperative control efforts across community boundaries allows for cost-sharing of equipment to control rabbits and will enable individual landholders to make a difference in the overall landscape,” Ms Moore said.

This project is supported by the Northern and Yorke NRM Board, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

For details of participating rural supply stores, please contact Natural Resources Northern and Yorke on 8841 3444. Click here for more information about European rabbits and the control program.

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