140 properties will be subject to inspection this month in stage two of a large-scale rabbit control program aimed at protecting the Glenelg River and significant plants and animals at Chetwynd in West Wimmera Shire.
Agriculture Victoria biosecurity officer James Rowe said the program would build on property inspections completed last year and complement a previous extension project in the river’s upper reaches.
“Rabbits inflict significant economic and environmental cost, and the upper reaches of the Glenelg River are particularly vulnerable to rabbits burrowing on the bank making them unstable, increasing sedimentation and leading to the loss of valuable vegetation,” he said.
Mr Rowe said Agriculture Victoria officers would inspect every property within the project area, with properties found with rabbit warrens last year inspected again to ensure rabbitcontrol works were completed.
“During inspections, Agriculture Victoria staff will discuss the program with landholders, provide information to help with rabbit control specific to each property, and comprehensively map areas of rabbit activity,” he said.
“Where infestations of rabbits are identified, landholders will be provided with maps and information to assist with the destruction of rabbit warrens through ripping and fumigation.”
Mr Rowe said a combination of control methods, such as fumigation and ‘ripping’ warrens, was the most effective approach to long-term rabbit control.
“Agriculture Victoria urges all landholders in the area to get involved and do their bit over the next 12 months to eliminate the need for compliance action after properties are re-inspected,” he said.
“It’s vital that landholders act together to minimise the impact of one of our most destructive pests.
“Successful rabbit management is achieved when landholders work together to implement a range of control methods.”
Under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994, it is the responsibility of landholders to take all reasonable steps to control, and as far as possible, eradicate, rabbits on their property.
People can visit http://go.vic.gov.au/HZ3YJV or call Agriculture Victoria’s customer service centre on 136 186 for more information about pest animal control.