Regulating Pesky Pests in Our Region

Rabbits are considered to be one of Australia’s most successful colonising mammals and a declared pest under Western Australia’s Biosecurity and Agricultural Management Act of 2007.

Initially brought into the country by European settlers for food and hunting in the 1800s, rabbits have superseded all expectations and were recently estimated to be sitting at a population of around 200 million wild rabbits across two-thirds of Australia. By 1894, rabbits were not only thriving in Mediterranean climates, but they had also successfully spread to all states and territories. By 1920, the national population was estimated to be 10 billion, creating a major problem for farmers, wildlife, and native vegetation.

Today it is estimated that through the destruction of available feed sources for livestock, crop damage, soil erosion, and nursery and forestry vegetation, rabbits cost Australia around $239 million per year. This does not take into account the immeasurable costs associated with the environmental damage to native fauna and flora.

In just 18 months, a pair of rabbits has the potential to become 184 rabbits, highlighting the very real and necessary need for control options. Over the years, a variety of methods have been employed to attempt to decrease the number of wild rabbits:

  • Trapping
  • Warren/den fumigation
  • Biocontrol
  • Poisons

Recently, the City of Greater Geraldton, in partnership with the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development and Northern Biosecurity Group, hosted a rabbit control workshop. The session aimed to help local community members and farmers deal with rising numbers of wild rabbits. If you missed out and would like to find out more about the rabbit control meeting, you can contact the City of Greater Geraldton’s Environmental Planning Team at environmentalplanning@cgg.wa.gov.au or (08) 9956 6600.

It is through a collaborative effort with the public, farmers, government agencies, and local biosecurity groups, that numbers of pest species can be drastically slashed for a better future. The outcomes of this collaborative effort will provide benefits to the wider community and also contribute to creating healthier ecosystems and landscapes for agriculture and biodiversity.

If you are experiencing problems associated with rising rabbit populations the following resources may be useful;

For advice and help on feral pest removal contact your local biosecurity group;

  • Northern Biosecurity Group (Shires of Chapman Valley, Northampton and City of Greater Geraldton) nbg_eo@outlook.com | 0427 898 160
  • Midlands Biosecurity Group (Shires of Moora, Dandaragan, Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs, Mingenew and Irwin) eo@mbg.org.au | 0429 446 515

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