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ORC Enabling Collaboration For Rabbit Control

A new collaborative engagement process is kicking off with a control operation in Clyde next week.

Starting 3 August, a collaborative rabbit control operation coordinated by the Otago Regional Council (ORC) will take place in Clyde. ORC is facilitating the operation that involves multiple landowners, including the Central Otago District Council, Southern District Health Board, Department of Conservation, and private landowners on the east side of the Clutha River. The operation will be funded by the landowners.

ORC Manager Biosecurity and Rural Liaison Andrea Howard said the joint operation was the first of a new collaborative engagement process being developed by ORC.

"The approach here is to bring landowners affected by rabbits together to look at the problem and work cooperatively on solutions. This control operation is a result of that process in Clyde, and we're looking forward to seeing some positive results."

Rabbits have been a regular source of frustration for the area, in particular around the Dunstan Golf Club and Dunstan Hospital.

"It's really important that neighbours co-operate on rabbit management. Rabbits don’t recognise property boundaries, so efforts on one property will be futile if they're not being matched on the surrounding land,” Ms Howard said.

ORC's Regional Pest Management Plan, adopted late last year, requires all landowners in Otago to control rabbits on their property, due to the economic and biodiversity threats they pose in our region.

"The pest plan, as well as a new operational plan and biodiversity strategy, sets out ORC's approach to rabbit management in Otago, which involves enabling communities to work together, by providing advice, facilitating co-operation, and coordinating control across boundaries," Ms Howard said.

As well as a coordinated approach, control must be long term and on-going. You can find out more about rabbit control and the rules by visiting ORC’s Pest Hub at www.orc.govt.nz/rabbits.

Operation details

The control operation will start on 3 August 2020 (weather dependent). Bait and toxin will be laid over a period of four weeks and the operation will conclude approximately eight weeks from the start date.

Carrots that have been laced with pindone will be used. These will be hand laid by a contractor, and dyed green so that they are easily identified by the public. No bait will be laid within 20m of a building or dwelling. Generally, most carrot is consumed by the rabbits through the operation; however, some carrot may remain but will breakdown relatively quickly.

Precautions

  • Pindone is an anticoagulant (blood thinner) and toxic bait and rabbit carcasses can remain toxic and pose a danger to people and dogs.
  • Dog owners should keep their dogs on a lead until warning signs have been officially removed. Unauthorised removal of signage or bait in this area is an offence.
  • Do not touch bait or rabbit carcasses.
  • If you suspect any human poisoning, contact the National Poisons Centre on 0800 764 766.
  • Dogs need to consume a number of rabbits to be affected, but if you suspect your dog has been poisoned you should contact your local vet.

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