Project targets rabbits north of Toowoomba
We've teamed up with the Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC), the Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board (DDMRB) and Biosecurity Queensland to tackle the rabbit population in the areas of:
- Highfields - starting point where around 1,800 property surveys are underway
- Crows Nest
Now - as in Autumn 2018 - is the ideal time to tackle the rabbit population with favourable climatic conditions, a recent outbreak of rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHDV2) and the release of the K5 virus – each impacting on rabbit numbers.
- Rabbits are a declared pest in Queensland inflicting significant damage to the landscape, the environment, domestic gardens and agricultural production - to both cropping and livestock.
- One large warren complex may house 100 rabbits.
- Rabbits consume a lot of pasture. Studies have shown that just two rabbits have the potential to generate 120 rabbits within a 12 month period, and 50 rabbits can eat the same amount of pasture as one horse or one cow.
- They undermine buildings, swimming pools, sheds and sporting fields, they compete with native animals, damage native vegetation and attract foxes which in turn predate on native animals and domestic poultry.
Rabbits eat high value small crops from seedlings through to mature plants and damage fruit trees by eating their bark – one apple grower on the Southern Downs lost 200 young trees to rabbits originating from one warren, at a replacement cost of $16 per tree.
Rabbits pose serious environmental impacts – studies have shown they can significantly alter the composition of native plant communities through selective browsing.
We're in the process of surveying rabbit breeding places on more than 1,800 properties on private and public land in the Highfields area. This will enable us to map entries to underground warrens or harbours (e.g. under sheds or rubbish piles) and the level of rabbit activity. Research by QMDC has revealed the most effective approach to managing rabbits is to remove their breeding grounds (by mechanical means), effectively taking out the source of the population. Should any breeding places be identified on a property, we will work in consultation with the owner to conduct control work and prevent rabbits from recovering and returning to historically high and destructive levels.
Technical staff representing TRC, QMDC, the DDMRB and Biosecurity Queensland are now doorknocking to carry out the surveys, accordingly, we are calling landholders to help identify the locations of rabbit hot-spots on their properties or in their neighbourhood.
This an opportunity for residents to to take advantage of technical advice and potential financial assistance to control identified rabbit breeding places. It will also help residents meet their General Biosecurity Obligation (GBO) under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
Rabbit Warren Ripping Demonstration Workshop
We'll be holding a demonstration day at Highfields (on a date to be set) to share control techniques and advice with landholders. Keep an eye on our events calendar or Facebook for dates, or contact QMDC NRM Officer Lachlan Marshall to register your interest.
If you're already aware of rabbit breeding locations on your property, you may be entitled to receive assistance! We urge you to also contact QMDC NRM Officer Lachlan Marshall on mobile: 0427 056 443 phone: 07 4637 6200 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit our project partner websites:
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