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BELLARINE Landcare will launch a campaign to control rabbit populations next month, which a local expert says are nearing “plague proportions”.
Chairman of Bellarine Landcare’s Rabbit Action Committee, Geoff McFarlane, said Bellarine locals were not doing enough to control the pests.
“They’re a very destructive animal in terms of vegetation and pastures,” he said.
Geoff said rabbits were almost impossible to eradicate and at best their populations could be controlled.
“Even if you get the population down to two rabbits, you’ll have 184 in 18 months,” he said.
Geoff said Bellarine residents had to work together to control rabbits, with anything less than a 93 per cent kill rate being a “failure”.
Some of the main methods for killing rabbits include fumigation, ripping up warrens and Pindone, a poison hidden in oats.
“If you use one control measure alone you’ll be unsuccessful,” Geoff said.
Geoff said while farmers had worked hard to control rabbits, small blocks of land on the urban-rural fringe remained a major concern.
He said some of these landholders, who “moved for the country lifestyle”, have “rabbits hopping all over their front lawns”.
“A lot of people in urban areas would say they are lovely furry little things and that we shouldn’t harm them,” he said.
“But the amount of damage they do to our biodiversity is incredible.”
Geoff added that property owners were responsible for controlling pests on their land under Victorian legislation.
Landcare has about 25 cluster leaders to co-ordinate the control efforts of 10 or 15 landholders each.
Geoff hopes to sign up 30 or more, and map each warren in the Bellarine.
For information visit the Bellarine Landcare’s website.

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