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European rabbits are Australia’s most widespread and destructive environmental and agricultural vertebrate pest.
First arriving in Australia with the First Fleet, then deliberately released for hunting in the 1800’s, the rate of spread of the rabbit in Australia was the fastest of any colonising mammal anywhere in the world. They are now found in all states and territories, including several offshore islands.
Rabbits graze on native and introduced vegetation, crops and pastures. Rabbit grazing can prevent seedlings from regenerating and reduce crop yields, as well as increase competition for feed with livestock. Rabbits damage native plants and directly compete with native wildlife for food and shelter. Their digging and browsing leads to a loss of vegetation cover, which in turn can result in slope instability and soil erosion.
In Australia, European rabbits have major impacts on agricultural productivity and the environment. The Threat abatement plan released by the Australian Government Department of the Environment in January 2016 found that rabbits are a significant threat to biodiversity, affecting 304 nationally threatened plant and animal species. Rabbits also impact agricultural productivity by $200 million a year.
Watch this meet the ferals episode on the rabbit problem
Want to a quick and easy digest of management information for rabbits? Our printable glovebox baiting guide is available to order here but please note that printing and postage charges will apply in most situations.
|Glovebox Guide for Managing Rabbits|