Rabbit removal starts in Toowoomba
A HUGE rabbit removal effort has started across the Darling Downs after it was discovered that more than 700 property owners are battling against the pest.
The initiative, headed by Southern Queensland Landscapes, Darling Downs Moreton Rabbit Board and Toowoomba Regional Council and Biosecurity, will aim to lessen the impact of wild rabbits on the environment.
Rabbits exacerbate the negative effects of the drought, compete with stock and native animals for food and are the predominant cause of soil erosion.
Works have now commenced on the first of 10 properties which will be targeted to address landscape issues caused by rabbits including reduced ground cover, damaged paddocks and weakening foundations under structures such as sheds and concrete slabs.
SQ Landscapes Project Officer Lachlan Marshall said the removal of rabbit breeding grounds was the key to successfully removing rabbits from the landscape.
“Warren ripping is one of the most effective ways to stop rabbits at their source. When their breeding grounds are destroyed, they become displaced making it near impossible for a breeding pair to have a litter of kittens. They are also highly vulnerable to predators above ground,” Mr Marshall said.
“This work is taking place over an extensive area and will take time but we’re looking forward to giving landholders some relief from rabbits.”
The statistics around the impacts of rabbits on graziers are alarming. In one day, 50 rabbits can eat as much as one yearling steer and nine rabbits can eat as much as one dry ewe.
Additionally, one active warren with 10 entrances can produce anywhere from 12 - 19 rabbits per month with six to eight litters in a year depending on food. This rapid population growth causes significant losses in crops and stock for landholders and decimates the landscape.