ALL of the ways to rid us of rabbits will be hunted down at the Victorian Rabbit Management Conference in Melbourne this month.
Rabbits are Australia’s most destructive pest, according to Victoria’s National Rabbit Management facilitator Michael Reid, who said the August 14 conference would be a unique opportunity to identify where gains are being made in rabbit management.
The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, transport and Resources (DEDJTR) NRM facilitator said rabbits have a direct impact on 156 threatened species nationally and cost Victorians about $31 million annually in lost agricultural production.
“The Victorian Rabbit Management Conference is an opportunity to share and identify which control methods are currently working the best, with a view to boost the effectiveness of long-term management.”
Community leaders, industry representatives and government specialists will meet and share their knowledge of rabbit control at the conference.
It will include plenary presentations focused on local know-how in rabbit management and community engagement, an interactive expo showcasing current rabbit control methods and a mix of technical posters on the latest research with invasive animal control experts from New Zealand, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.
Chair of the Victorian Rabbit Action Network, north western Victorian farmer Gerald Leach will launch the networks Small Grants program to support community innovation at the conference.
“This is a great opportunity to hear from the local experts in community programs and rabbit management in Victoria,” Mr Leach said.
“To effectively control rabbits we need to work together. I encourage all interested groups to join this network where we can learn and share our knowledge and ideas to help strengthen the effectiveness of community action on rabbits in Victoria.”
The conference is an initiative of the Victorian Rabbit Action Network, a joint project between the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. It is open to anyone with an interest in rabbit management in Victoria. Places are limited, for more information and to register please visit www.rabbitaction.com
The conference starts at 9.15am in the Mercure, Treasury Gardens, 13 Spring St. Melbourne. Cost is $22 per person. Trade stand $54 per company or organisation.
Source: Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
I make the following points:
Our focus should not be on rabbit control, that is keeping the population at a reasonable level, but rather total eradication from a given area such as a farm or conservation area.
1. The rabbit’s strength is its ability to multiply numbers quickly so any nucleus of population is dangerous.
2. Rabbits cannot breed without burrows. So a farm without burrows will eventually be a farm without rabbits. The ability to achieve this varies on rabbit populations on adjoining lands.
Another good reason to aim at total eradication from a grazing property or conservation area is because even a very small rabbit population can still determine the composition of vegetation. One rabbit will graze over hundreds of square metres every night of the year relentlessly targeting their favourite food.
I have experimented in a small way with destroying burrows with a slurry of mud with very effective results.
The advantage over conventional burrow destruction with a ripper or excavator is that a deeply dug soft area of earth is not left inviting recolonisation.
No burrow cannot be filled with mud, even under fence lines, stoney ridges, old growth trees or sacred sites.