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ECan rabbit control co-ordinator for land-owners

March 3, 2008


MEDIA STATEMENT

ECan rabbit control co-ordinator for land-owners

Environment Canterbury (ECan) is encouraging landholders wanting advice or assistance with rabbit control operations to use the services of its rabbit co-ordinator.

The position was established in October 2007 to provide landholders with advice on what is best practice technically and the most cost effective in terms of rabbit control, and to enable co-ordination of control operations where these straddle several land holdings and private and Crown land.

“The co-ordinator is presently working with seven landowner groups in areas where rabbit numbers are increasing. These include parts of the Amuri, Waikari, Mackenzie, and Kurow pest districts,” Environment Canterbury’s pests and biosecurity committee chairperson, Cr Eugenie Sage said.

ECan’s monitoring has shown increased levels of immunity to RHD (rabbit haemorrhagic disease) in young rabbits and rising rabbit numbers in some more rabbit-prone parts of the region.

“An estimated 10,000 ha in Canterbury now have rabbit numbers above the Modified McLean scale level three, the level where the Regional Pest Management Strategy requires that control be undertaken,” Cr Sage said.

“If the impact of RHD is waning in areas where rabbits have historically been a problem, initial control through effective poisoning as well as follow-up night shooting by contractors, will become increasingly important.

“Land occupiers need to plan for control and for greater use of traditional methods including structured and co-ordinated poisoning programmes,” said Cr Sage.

“Work is also underway on applying for a regional consent for the aerial application of 1080 impregnated baits in operations that are co-ordinated by Environment Canterbury.

“Both initiatives respond to a request by Environment Canterbury’s pest management liaison committees to make the current “user pays” rabbit control strategy more cost effective,” she said.

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Notes:

1. The Regional Pest Management Strategy requires landholders to keep rabbit densities on the land they occupy at or below Level 3 on the Modified McLean Scale. The scale assesses rabbit population levels.

Level 3 is: “Odd rabbits seen; sign and some buck heaps showing up. Faecal pellet heaps spaced 10m or more apart on average.”

2. Environment Canterbury has 11 pest liaison committees representing ratepayers in pest districts in the region, except Mackenzie. Anyone wishing to be a member of a pest committee is welcome to put their name forward by 20th March by contacting Customer Services at Environment Canterbury on 0800 EC INFO (0800 32 46 36).

ENDS

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