Rabbits put on notice with warren ripping workshop
Warren ripping session declared a real ripper
STANTHORPE district landholders showed up in force to a warren ripping demonstration and field day hosted by the Queensland Murray-Darling Committee last week, confirming rabbit control is a growing concern on the Granite Belt.
The group of more than 40 included graziers, vineyard owners, horticulturists, lifestyle block owners and an organic chook farmer, all from The Summit area north of Stanthorpe, one of the focal points of a new rabbit control project.
QMDC regional coordinator Vanessa Macdonald said the project aimed to target source rabbit populations and was a rare opportunity for landholders to access expert advice, tap into financial help and get on top of their rabbit infestations while the new strain of rabbit virus (K5) was actively knocking down numbers.
In the four months since the project began, 150 warrens were ripped in the Wallangarra district, resulting in an 86% reduction in rabbit numbers, and preventing the potential breeding of 50,000 rabbits.
“This project is unique in that it gives landholders access to all stakeholders involved in rabbit control including QMDC, the Southern Downs and Toowoomba regional councils, the University of Southern Queensland, the Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board, Biosecurity Queensland and NSW Local Land Services,” Ms Macdonald said.
“After the field day, people seem to have a clear idea of what they need to do, and that is, to destroy the breeding grounds and to follow up with monitoring and mopping up any rabbits they miss.
“Our back hoe demonstration gave landholders an insight into the ripping technique, showing how and why it is recognised as the best management technique for rabbit control.
“It prompted a lot of questions and lead to the majority of attendees saying they’d like to join the project and destroy warrens in a coordinated way with neighbours.
“A lot of comments were along the lines of ‘this really is the way to go – we just need to rip’.
“We also emphasised that landholders need to monitor and control remaining rabbits by applying other techniques such as fumigation, trapping and fencing.
“The next step is to go back and map all warrens on landholder properties, which we expect will lead to a lot of warren ripping in The Summit district,” she said.
Landholders who undertake ripping will be provided with up to one third of the overall cost in financial assistance through QMDC from the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative.
Go to www.qmdc.org.au for details.
After the field day, people seem to have a clear idea of what they need to do... — Vanessa Macdonald
RIPPER EVENT: Teaching landholders at The Summit rabbit warren ripping field day are (from left) host Con Petroccitto, Nathan Ring, Dr Dave Berman, Mark Ridge, Vanessa Macdonald, Peter Elsworth, and Craig Magnussen.