Going down rabbit holes with Landcare
TIM Bloomfield, veteran rabbit control guru, shared his ‘recipe for success’ for controlling rabbits recently at Bellarine Landcare Group’s Rabbit Control Field Day in Drysdale.
“The rabbit makes the burrow, but the burrow makes the rabbit,” Mr Bloomfield said.
“The warren provides protection from predators and the elements; destroy the warren and you will stop rabbits from breeding.
“Just two rabbits will breed up to 184 in 18 months, and just two rabbits per ha will prevent the regeneration of native plants.”
Over 50 people gathered at the Field Day to learn the importance of destroying rabbit warrens as an essential element of rabbit control, along with other insights into best practice rabbit control.
“The proven steps to rabbit control is first, knock down the numbers with baiting, followed by destroying warrens, removing rabbit harbour such as rubbish piles, and then follow-up maintenance,” Mr Bloomfield said.
“In all my years of working on the Bellarine in the 1970s and 80s, I’ve never seen rabbit numbers as high as they are now.”
Geoff McFarlane, Chair of the Bellarine Landcare Group’s Rabbit Action Group, said that they want landholders to get on board with mapping warrens and doing spotlight counts so they can assess the true extent of the rabbits on the Bellarine.
“We need neighbours to work together and that’s another essential ingredient in the rabbit control recipe.”
Pete Wright from Allright Ag and Pest demonstrated an implosion method of warren destruction along with warren excavation in amongst trees using a 1.2 tonne excavator.
The Bellarine Landcare Rabbit Action Group demonstrated their innovative warren smoking gear for identifying warren exits.
Belgrove Hire donated the 1.2 tonne excavator, and City of Greater Geelong supported the day.
Landholders wanting information or advice on controlling rabbits can contact Bellarine Landcare Group at [email protected]ellarinelandcare.org.au or go to bellarinelandcare.org.au.