Increase in rabbits prompts first shooting at gardens

Part of the Queenstown Gardens, with the band rotunda in the background, from where the shooting...
Part of the Queenstown Gardens, with the band rotunda in the background, from where the shooting exercise will take place. PHOTO: TRACEY ROXBURGH
In what is a first, there will be rabbit shooting at Queenstown Gardens tonight, if the dry weather holds.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council has employed one professional contractor to shoot rabbits in the gardens.

The operation is weather dependent, but rain is forecast in Queenstown today.

A council spokesman said a mild/drier winter had led to an increase in rabbit numbers which was having a detrimental effect on plants and Queenstown Gardens in general.

One professional contractor would shoot from 9pm using thermal imaging technology.

Poison was not considered, as shooting was the better option in this location.

"Laying poison that could be on the ground and/or in bait stations for months when so many people and dogs visit the gardens isn’t possible," the spokesman said.

The council had issued plenty of notice about the shooting.

Entry points to the gardens would be closed and manned.

The community has been notified via signs, public notice adverts in the Otago Daily Times and Mountain Scene, social media posts, a dedicated web page, and a letter drop. The council had also notified police.

The public had been warned about the noise. An operation involving a shooter had not been done before by the council in the gardens.

Shooting would take place from the band rotunda to the southern point of the gardens. It is scheduled to take three to four hours.

— Staff reporter

 

 

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