Friday, April 26, 2024

Avon Plains rabbits in sights of Ag Victoria

Agriculture Victoria Biosecurity Officers are undertaking property inspections in the Avon Plains area to support the Avon Plains-Banyena Landcare Group and broader community with rabbit management.

Agriculture Victoria Biosecurity Officer, Josh Howard said the economic and environmental impact of rabbits in the south-west region has been a problem for many years.

“The impact of rabbits in the Avon Plains area, particularly around the Avon Plains Lakes, is of particular concern,” he said.

The Avon Plains-Banyena Landcare Group recently received funding from the Victorian Rabbit Action Network to implement a Rabbit Buster Program involving two community workshops, a survey of the area and a rabbit action plan.

“Agriculture Victoria staff presented information at a workshop in 2021 to discuss best practice rabbit management with interested community members.

“The project will include 66 properties and 24 roadsides in the Avon Plains area surrounding Lake Batyo Catyo, Walkers Lake, Hollands Lake and Hancocks Lake.

“All public and private land within the designated project area will be inspected for the presence of rabbits.”

Mr Howard said the best rabbit control results are achieved when landowners work together and implement management simultaneously.

“During the inspections, we will discuss the project with landholders, provide information to assist with rabbit control specific to each property and comprehensively map areas of rabbit activity,” he said.

“Best practice rabbit management involves control techniques such as baiting and ripping and they become more effective this time year because the rabbits are more likely to eat bait and soil is more friable and better for ripping.

“Under Section 20 of the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 (CaLP Act) landowners have a responsibility to prevent the spread of, and as far as possible eradicate, established pest animals.

“This ensures pest animals don’t adversely affect agricultural production on neighbouring farms or impact on the natural environment.

For further information regarding rabbit biology and control techniques visit the Integrated rabbit control page on the Agriculture Victoria website or call our Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

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