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*** OLD *** - Control techniques and best practice

What control techniques are permitted in your area?

There are many techniques available for the control of rabbits. However, the techniques that are permitted to control rabbits may differ depending on where you live, and are guided by specific legislation and regulations. It is vital that you consult your local pest control or government authorities before using a control technique to ensure you follow the appropriate legislation. Remember, local authorities are also available to help you and advise you about any new and improved control techniques that may be available for you.

Chemical control

  • Ground baiting (with 1080 or Pindone)
  • Fumigation of warrens

Mechanical control

  • Warren destruction by ripping (with a small tractor or bulldozer)
  • Warren destruction using explosives
  • Trapping
  • Ground shooting
  • Fencing to prevent rabbit entry
  • Removal of surface habitat for rabbits, such as blackberry thickets

Biological control

  • Myxomatosis (also referred to as Myxo)
  • Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) formerly known as Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD).
Standard Operating Procedures for humane control of Rabbits 

 Best-practice pest animal management - Advice from the experts:

  • Pest management needs to be carefully planned and coordinated
  • The focus should be on the damage pest animals cause, and not just on the pest animals themselves for the most successful results for productivity, agriculture and environmental protection
  • A focus only on the numbers of animals culled will not necessarily give productivity improvements or reduce damage levels
  • Pest animal control should not be addressed in isolation and should be integrated within a landscape management plan for all agricultural and natural resources
  • Landholders who use a best-practice pest animal management approach are more likely to achieve cost-effective results, reduced damage levels and improved productivity outcomes, as they focus on the best available techniques, sound scientific advice and local knowledge to develop and implement appropriate pest management plans.

Controlling rabbits to prevent rabbit damage

The aim of rabbit control should be on reducing the damage rabbits cause, not just on reducing the numbers of rabbits. It is critical to know where rabbits occur, as well as when and where damage is occurring in order to successfully control rabbits and to see benefits from your control program.

The RabbitScan mapping tool can help you to identify and map where rabbits occur, map when and where damage is most severe, and map areas where control is required or underway. This can help you plan and evaluate rabbit control activities.

If you do not control rabbits, their numbers and their resiliance in the landscape will gradually increase and they will eventually become extremely diffcult to get rid of. Meanwhile they will continue to cause damage to your property, native vegetation, crops and pastures, and our environment.

Use many control techniques for best results

When undertaking a control program, the best approach is usually to use a number of control techniques simultaneously (ie, not relying on any single technique), and implementing these techniques across the full area inhabited by rabbits - and especially where damage is most severe. Make sure to monitor for rabbits or rabbit damage after a control effort, and undertake follow-up control as needed. It is rare for an initial knock-down to effect all rabbits - some rabbits will almost always evade control, but it is possible to reduce rabbit numbers to very low levels.

Coordinate control with your neighbours to prevent recolonisation

A rabbit control program should aim to reduce the damage caused by rabbits, by reducing the numbers of rabbits, reducing the breeding potential of rabbits, and preventing recolonisation of control areas but destroying rabbit warrens. Coordinating a control program with your neighbours across a large area can significantly increase the effectiveness of a control program, by helping to prevent recolonisation by rabbits that may evade the control activities.

Find out what resources are available to you

Local authorities and pest management agencies may be able to assist with a control program, or assist you by providing useful information about the latest techniques, grants, projects, or connect you with others in your area.
Image source B Lukins
Spreading rabbit carrot baits using a quad-bike. Source: Brian Lukins NSW Dept or Primary Industries.

Monitoring rabbits and the damage they cause

Monitoring of rabbits before and after control is a vital step in rabbit management. Monitoring of both rabbit numbers and damage before and after a control program can help you to gauge how well a technique(s) has reduced rabbit numbers, and whether follow-up control is required.Monitoring can also help you to determine exactly how much control is required to reach your goals, and can help to maximise the cost-effectiveness of your actions.

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