Environment Waikato Councillors have asked staff to provide more advice and information to landowners on how to do their own rabbit control.
Some Councillors are receiving calls from landowners concerned about how to deal with problem rabbits, particularly on small land holdings and lifestyle blocks. Biosecurity Operations Manager Peter Russell said rabbits were around in higher numbers because of seasonal population increases in spring and the effects of rabbit haemorragic disease dropped off in winter and spring.
Many areas had intensive possum and ferret control which was having an impact on rabbit predators such as feral cats and mustelids (ferrets, stoats and weasels). Hedgerows, riparian areas, road verges and waste areas provided habitat for rabbits, he said. Environment Waikato’s biosecurity freephone service (0800 BIOSECURITY 246 732) provided advice and contacts for rabbit control.
“The key point is that control to a specified standard is the responsibility of landowners as a rule under the Regional Pest Management Strategy. Control methods need to be suitable for the locality and circumstances.”
He said controls included shooting and dogging, fumigation of warrens and burrows, poisoning with either acute or anticoagulant toxins, using RHD as a biocide, or repellent or deterrent techniques. There were no stocks of RHD available at the moment, he said.
A number of contractors were available to quote on control measures if landowners did not want to undertake the control themselves, Mr Russell said.