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As part of the City of Canterbury Bankstown’s program to control the number of wild rabbits in Milperra, a second release of the Calicivirus will be taking place this month.
Mayor Khal Asfour said the virus, since being released last year, had reduced the feral rabbit population in Milperra by 75 per cent.
"What we really saw was a significant improvement in our gardens and reserves around Milperra. They were able to flourish because they weren’t being ravaged by the rabbits," he said.
According to the NSW Department of Primary Industries, wild rabbits are Australia’s most destructive pest, threatening more than 300 native plants and animal species.
"It only takes two rabbits to breed 200 offspring," Mayor Asfour said.
"Lately, residents have noticed the number of feral rabbits slowly creeping up again, so we need to act."
The program will involve distributing carrots, mixed with the Calicivirus, in reserves, at Newland, Vasta, Dunstan and Heritage Reserves. This will be undertaken by an experienced and licensed feral animal control contractor. The reserves will remain open to the public and carrot baits will only be used in the evening and removed in the morning. While baits are not harmful to humans, or other animals, residents are encouraged to leave baits alone to ensure a successful control program.
Dr Edward Humphries, from Rossmore Veterinary Hospital, said Calicivirus is an effective method for suppressing the wild rabbit population, but it’s important to make sure pet rabbits are protected.
"Rabbits should be vaccinated at least once a year and baby rabbits can receive their vaccinations from four weeks," he said.
"It’s near impossible to keep your pet rabbit completely away from insects and other rabbits, which is exactly how the virus is contracted.
"So it’s vital, people who own pet rabbits keep up-to-date with their vaccination program."
Council will continue to offer cage traps to residents in Milperra to further reduce the wild rabbit population.
For more information and regular updates, go to cb.city/rabbit
11/10/2018 1:54 PM