Feral Rabbit Control Program

Feral Rabbit Control Program
Feral Rabbit
In urban areas, a combination of traditional control techniques and biological control help reduce feral rabbit populations. Feral Rabbit Control Program In urban areas, a combination of traditional control techniques and biological control help reduce feral rabbit populations and minimises the damage they cause.

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The feral European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) arrived in Australia with the First Fleet, and today is one of the most abundant mammals in Australia. It causes severe damage to the natural environment, agriculture and, increasingly, urban areas.

The feral rabbit and the domestic rabbit are the same species. Released, or escaped, domestic rabbits will readily interbreed with feral rabbits. In the Sydney region, rabbits typically breed all year round due to high rainfall and good pasture conditions.

Why is Council trying to control rabbits?

Under NSW legislation, all landowners with rabbits on their property, including councils, are responsible for their control.

The impacts of feral rabbits in urban areas can be vast and diverse. Examples of rabbit-related impact can include damage to suburban parks, picnic areas, sports fields, residential gardens, nature strips, footpaths and road verges.

What will council be doing to control rabbits?

In urban areas, a combination of traditional control techniques and biological control help reduce feral rabbit populations and minimises the damage they cause.

Currently, Council is focused on managing rabbits in the Milperra area. Fumigation and trapping has not proven successful, so a controlled baiting program was conducted in June 2016 at Newlands Reserve.  The NSW Government-approved pesticide pindone was used and an 80% per cent reduction in the rabbit population was achieved. Whilst effective at Newland Reserve, the pindone baiting program had little impact elsewhere in Milperra.

The next stage of rabbit control is to evaluate the effectiveness of using a biological control. Council has been approved to participate in the national release of a new biological rabbit control called RHDV1 K5 (a type of calicivirus). The control is only harmful to rabbits.

A rabbit trap loan service will also continue to be offered to Milperra residents.

What can I do?

  • Keep a look out for signs in Newland, Keys, Vasta, Dunstan, Eynham and Heritage Reserves with details of the rabbit control program;
  • Practice responsible pet ownership by ensuring pet rabbits are up to date with vaccinations;
  • If carrots are observed in the reserves, please leave for feral rabbits to consume;
  • Report any deceased rabbits to Council for disposal; and 
  • Report rabbit sightings through the Feral S​can​ website.​

What if my pet eats the carrot bait?

The calicivirus is only harmful to rabbits. Humans, cats, dogs and native animals will not become ill if the bait (or an affected rabbit) is consumed.

Residents with pet rabbits are encouraged to practice responsible pet ownership and ensure vaccinations are current

More information

For more information, go to the FeralScan website, the NSW Department of Environment and Heritage website and also Council's Responsible p​et ownership page.