Shirewide rabbit control planned

Towns up and down the Shire are experiencing large numbers of rabbits. A long time Tuross resident of over 60 years says he has never seen anything like it. "The dunes are alive with them and just about every street in Tuross has its own colony. It's like Easter driving around at night". Paul Martin, Invasive Species Supervisor advised The Beagle that rabbits continue to pose a challenge.

“Rabbits are a constant issue in our coastal suburbs and simply love sandy soil and sand dunes. They will happily shelter under things like caravans, empty holiday homes, heaped vegetation and discarded building debris such as Colourbond roofing and bricks,” he said.

“Council is not responsible for rabbit control on private property, so while we conduct control work on Council lands, it is extremely frustrating when they move back in from private property.

“This is in itself an issue for the property owner as rabbits will create warrens under the house that can lead to soil subsidence and de-stabilised foundations, resulting in very costly repairs.

“Residents with rabbits on their property are welcome to call us for advice about how they can approach the problem,” Mr Martin said. Residents can legally use Pindone in urban areas to control rabbits on their land if their block is >1000m2 however residents are reminded that Pindone is a very toxic poison and the product can only be used by someone who has undertaken a Pindone Handlers course. Paul said “While Pindone is a good way to control rabbits, there are serious considerations around both primary and secondary poisoning that people need to understand and properly manage.” This course is conducted by the Local Lands Service and is primarily directed towards those in agriculture or larger blocks,however should nine or more members of a town or village wish to undertake a course it can be arranged and held at a local venue. Where feasible, groups of landholders coming together to bait over a larger area will result in a much longer term gain, than one landholder baiting a single property. Council is currently rolling out its Rabbit Control Schedule. In Tuross Head they are currently fumigating warrens in the dunes between the beach caravan park and Wolfe Point through to One Tree Point and have marked out the warrens for the next fumigation exercise between One Tree and Plantation Memorial gardens and onwards to Coila.

Paul said “Warren fumigation and destruction by hand in this coastal environment, is a very laborious and time consuming activity, however to ensure our reserves don’t get re-inhabited from private property, it’s really the only solution.”

Following the fumigation Council will be conducting Pindone baiting in identified Tuross streets to work on the rabbit numbers that are predominantly located on urban lots and frequent adjacent reserves and street verges.

Paul went on to say that “even though warren fumigation and destruction is the first step, it’s important to understand that we can’t locate and destroy every warren, particularly those on near vertical headlands like One Tree, under people’s houses, caravans or close to dwellings, so if we get a reasonable run of good weather, we’ll hopefully get time to do some Pindone poison baiting around the streets and other hot spots before the Christmas holidays”

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