Is effective long-term management of rabbits in semi-arid region reserves possible? Ten years on.

Rabbit control is an enormous task requiring long-term commitment. It is also a critical element in managing total grazing pressure within the Flinders Ranges National Park (FRNP) of South Australia. Prior to 1995 rabbit densities in the FRNP were in excess of 1,400 per 100 km transect. In 1995 the release of rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) decreased rabbit numbers to approximately 12% of the earlier recorded levels. This provided an opportunity to initiate a long-term rabbit management program, which significantly assisted in decreasing the total grazing pressure on the park and resulted in improved conditions for natural regeneration of flora. The intensity of infestation in the FRNP was so significant, both in area and rabbit numbers, that the number of warrens remaining post-RHD provided significant refuge for the residual populations. Consequently, focusing on the destruction of existing warrens to prevent their re-use, coupled with ongoing management strategies to ensure minimal reinfestation, was essential.

Author Watkins, P. and Baker, P.
Date 2005-05-02
Year 2005
Secondary title 13th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference
Place published Wellington, NZ
Publisher Landcare Research
Pages 292-292
Region SA
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