Image above: Participants listening to John Matthews, Statewide Specialist Established Invasive Animals, Victorian Government, in a recently ripped rabbit warren on a hill side.
Participants from across Victoria and Tasmania descended on Bacchus Marsh for three days to learn about the various aspects of rabbit management from the best in the business.
Sessions were structured with learning the principles of rabbit control taught in the mornings, and the afternoons were spent in the paddock learning firsthand practical techniques. This session covered ripping rabbit warrens, fumigation, baiting and implosion methods. During the evenings, participants mastered spotlighting techniques, which is a crucial skill for monitoring rabbit numbers, in support of designing and evaluating programs.
The course had experts from the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR), private industry and community delivering training on theory and practical components of rabbit management. Michael Reid, National Rabbit Facilitator said “we are also developing a mentor system, which will allow participants to connect with these experts as they go back to their respective communities to manage rabbits”.
Participants have decided to form their own learning network (Leaps and Bounds) to continue to explore the various issues around rabbit management. Approaches to engaging community is a topic of interest.
Matthew Stephenson, from the Victorian Landcare Council, said the team of mentors were astounding, and had enormous practical knowledge and experience in dealing with rabbits and the complexity of rabbit management.
The training supports a systems-based approach being piloted in Victoria as part of the Victorian Rabbit Action Network.