National rabbit plan rethink

Rethinking our national plan to tackle rabbits

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The public is invited to comment on an updated plan to tackle the scourge of feral rabbits. Photo: Invasive Animals CRC

The public is invited to comment on an updated plan to tackle the scourge of feral rabbits. Photo: Invasive Animals CRC

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Australia’s long-running battle with the feral rabbit has entered a new phase.

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OUR national plan to tackle feral rabbits has been updated to reflect the true damage they cause to the environment.

The latest draft of the Department of the Environment’s threat abatement plan for rabbits has found they affect more than 300 nationally-threatened species, double the number estimated in 2008.

The revised national plan identifies rabbit biocontrol agents and other rabbit management techniques as a high priority which needs a long-term and ongoing commitment.

The plan is open for public comment until March 16, 2016.

Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrews said there are now more rabbits in Australia than there are of any native mammal species, including kangaroos.

“Rabbits compete with local animals for food and burrows and they also destroy habitat, eating native plants and eroding soils so that weeds take over,” Mr Andrews said.

“The science is also clear that uncontrolled rabbit populations can allow feral cat numbers to escalate because the cats can breed more quickly when food is abundant.”

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