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Landowners urged to crack down on rabbits

For immediate release: Wednesday 1 October 2003

Landowners urged to crack down on rabbits

CAPTION: Environment Bay of Plenty wants rural residents to crack down on rabbits.

Rural residents are being urged to crack down on rabbits in the Bay of Plenty.

Environment Bay of Plenty pest animal coordinator David Moore says the region’s rabbit population has surged since the breeding season began in early spring.

And the situation will get worse if farmers and lifestyle block owners don’t control the pests on their properties, he says. He particularly wants absentee owners, who may only visit at weekends or during the holidays, to heed his warning.

“If they don’t start to control them, the pests can breed and spread out into neighbouring land. People need to act now.” Environment Bay of Plenty has already received calls from rural residents wanting to know how best to control rabbit infestations.

Rabbits breed throughout the year, although their main breeding season is from spring through to late summer. They can breed prolifically with one doe able to produce 45 to 50 young a year.

Rabbits dig holes and eat the grass on urban lawns and paddocks. They may eat plants in vegetable and flower gardens and can even ring-bark small trees. However, burrows are the most common damage.

As rabbits are nocturnal “you may not catch them in the act of destroying your plants”, Mr Moore says.

Mr Moore says that, as property owners receive the most benefit from rabbit control, they are ultimately responsible for it.

Environment Bay of Plenty pest animal officers are pleased to give advice on control methods like fumigation, poisoning, shooting, trapping, exclusion fencing and repellents.

Fact sheets on rabbit control are available from Environment Bay of Plenty’s offices in Tauranga, Rotorua and Whakatane or on the website www.envbop.govt.nz under land/pest animals/fact sheets. Call 0800 ENV BOP (368 267) to talk to a pest animal officer.

© Scoop Media

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