Rabbit explosion tipped to have towns on the hop

Too many bunnies are hopping into Waitaki Valley towns and, once they start breeding this year, could cause a major problem by Christmas.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) is recommending the Waitaki District Council carry out rabbit control in the towns, particularly Otematata and Omarama where the numbers are a problem.

Otematata residents and the Ahuriri Community Board have already complained about rabbit nuisance, prompting an inspection by ECan's Timaru-based biosecurity team leader Brent Glentworth.

He said rabbit levels were "just compliant" - below the trigger level at which control measures become compulsory - although causing a nuisance in green and public areas.

"These levels will quickly increase over the current breeding season, causing a serious issue by Christmas."

The problem required urgent attention, he said.

He suggested the council use a pest-control contractor to carry out spotlight shooting at night.

That would required extensive community notification of dates and times.

"Extreme care is, of course, required when discharging a firearm in this situation, but the method is potentially less controversial than using poison bait," he said.

- david.bruce@odt.co.nz

 

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