Warren destruction with explosives is used to minimise the impact of the introduced European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) on agricultural production and the environment. Other rabbit control methods include poisoning, warren destruction using ripping, surface harbour removal, shooting, trapping, exclusion fencing and biological control with rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) and myxomatosis.
In many areas of Australia, rabbits depend on warrens for shelter from climatic extremes, predator avoidance and also for successful breeding. Warrens are destroyed using ripping or, in rocky or inaccessible areas, explosives. Since rabbits do not readily dig new warrens, rabbit populations do not persist in areas where warrens are effectively destroyed and re-colonisation is made less likely.
Blasting will be more humane when the number of rabbits in the warren is low and when explosives are applied in a manner that achieves collapse of the whole warren, so that the rabbits are killed quickly. Because blasting gives long term management of rabbit populations the need for repeated control operations is reduced.
Ammonium nitrate mixed with fuel oil (ANFO) is the most commonly used explosive for warren destruction. Explosives are extremely hazardous and should only be used by suitable qualified and accredited operators.
This standard operating procedure (SOP) is a guide only; it does not replace or override the legislation that applies in the relevant State or Territory jurisdiction. The SOP should only be used subject to the applicable legal requirements (including OH&S) operating in the relevant jurisdiction.
|Control method||Habitat modification|
|Region||Australia - national|
|Documents||RAB007: Rabbit warren destruction using explosives [250 kb PDF]|
|Secondary title||Standard Operating Procedure|