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Property-level rabbit control using harbour destruction restricts breeding success

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Elsworth, P. (2023) Property-level rabbit control using harbour destruction restricts breeding success. In: 2nd Pest Animal and Weed Symposium, 28-31 August 2023, Dalby, Australia..

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Article Link: https://icebergevents.eventsair.com/paws2023/proce...


The European rabbit is a significant economic, environmental, and social pest animal in Australia. Best management strategy for managing the impacts of rabbits involves integrated control techniques to reduce rabbit numbers and prevent re-invasion. In Queensland, rabbit populations have become isolated and sporadic as a result of biological control activity and on-going strategic control programs. This provides opportunity for land managers to have significant positive outcomes on individual properties with greatly reduced risk of re-invasion. Four case studies are presented where individual or small neighbouring properties have used harbour removal as the primary control tool following natural virus outbreaks to achieve greatly reduced rabbit numbers. In two of the case studies, rabbit breeding and survival was assessed using remote monitoring cameras to track kitten emergence from breeding harbour and subsequent survival (or not) to adulthood. In all cases, only one kitten per breeding season and location survived to adulthood, but overall, the adult numbers declined, and by up to 88 percent. Rabbit declines following the harbour removal were greater than those seen following virus outbreaks, highlighting that virus outbreaks on their own will not achieve satisfactory control outcomes. Harbour removal provides greatly reduced rabbit numbers and longer-term benefits than other control techniques and when used in an integrated process with other control tools provides excellent outcomes for land managers.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Corporate Creators:Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Keywords:Rabbit, harbour destruction, IPM, breeding, survival
Subjects:Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Animal control and ecology
Science > Invasive Species > Modelling > Animal
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural ecology (General)
Animal culture > Small animal culture
Live Archive:13 Mar 2024 02:54
Last Modified:13 Mar 2024 02:54

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