Rabbit Buster Month with North Central CMA
Posted on 28 January, 2021 by Ivan
Rabbits are a persistent landscape pest in our region, particularly in the granitic soils around Mount Alexander in central Victoria. Many landholders and Landcare groups have implemented rabbit control programs over the past decades, with some excellent outcomes across the region. It is estimated that approximately 200 million feral rabbits inhabit Australia, a staggering number, but considerably less than the numbers prior to the introduction of the biological control viruses.
February is the North Central Catchment Management Authority’s (CMA) ‘Rabbit Buster’ month, when landholders and communities are encouraged to revisit their rabbit control plans. Connecting Country strongly encourages landholders to participate in this program. Persistence is a vital aspect of rabbit control, especially when numbers are relatively low.
To view Connecting Country’s fact sheet dedicated to rabbit control – click here
Here is an from the North Central CMA, regarding their Rabbit Buster month 2021.
Whilst Rabbit Buster field days have been postponsed until later in 2021, there is plenty to be done now. While the grass is dry and prior to autumn rains, numbers are usually at their lowest.
The Victorian Rabbit Action Network published the ‘Rabbit Recipe’ in October 2020, advocating the following steps:
- Make an assessment of the rabbit population = the size of your problem.
- Following this, undertake and monitor a baiting program.
- Baiting should be followed by ripping. The deeper the better.
- Warren destruction is the key to effective rabbit control ‘Destroy the warren, Destroy the rabbit’.*
- Continue monitoring on an ongoing basis to detect and treat any re-infestation of your property.
*It is noted that dozer ripping is site-specific and can only be done where practical and culturally safe to do so.
Resources to support you…
Ag Vic has a wealth of information to help you start or support your rabbit control program.
‘Rabbit control is most cost-effective in late summer and early autumn as breeding has generally paused at this time. Biological control and naturally harsh environmental conditions can cause added stress on the rabbit population and may lead to longer-lasting results.’
Controlling rabbit populations when they are low is the most cost-effective control and efforts are more likely to be sustained. Agriculture Victoria Biosecurity Officers are always willing to discuss rabbit control options with you.
For more detailed information on Victoria’s research and best practice integrated rabbit control methods – click here
Victorian Rabbit Action Network (VRAN)
VRAN are committed to promoting community led action on rabbit management in Victoria and supporting people to work together for more effective and sustainable rabbit control.
VRAN can help you through:
- Running training and mentoring programs, delivering workshops on best-practice rabbit control, and supporting people and organisations to collaborate on rabbit action.
- Occasional funding grants to support community learning, innovation, and rabbit management (See Funding Opportunities section of their website).
- Short, easy to view YouTube Videos on all aspects of a rabbit control program – click here
You may even have a VRAN mentor or leader in your area, to check, get in touch with Heidi Kleinert: VRAN Exec Officer via firstname.lastname@example.org
RabbitScan remains one of the most user-friendly tools to record rabbit populations. RabbitScan is a free resource for landholders, Landcare groups, community groups, local Councils, professional pest controllers and biosecurity groups. It has been designed by landholders for communities, and it is very easy to use.
What to record:
- Rabbit activity (such as sightings and warrens).
- Damage, such as soil erosion.
- Control activities (such as warren ripping).
- Disease in rabbit populations (such as RHDV).
You can even speak with a member of the RabbitScan team to organise some training for your local community.