Landowners hopping mad at rabbits can get their fill of tips to deal with them at a special event tomorrow, from 9am till noon.

In 2018, there was a mass cull of rabbits in the Whakatipu, with a targeted release of the virus RHDV1 K5, but some rabbits proved resistant.

Then, in 2021, Otago Regional Council (ORC) coordinated a landowner-led control operation, targeting the rampant population.

While it remains land owners’ responsibility to control rabbit populations, last month ORC announced it was dedicating more staff to the fight in Central Otago and ramping up community programmes to help groups and individuals with monitoring and education and targeting assistance for smaller property owners.

ORC’s environmental implementation manager Libby Caldwell says the spread of subdivisions and creation of ‘‘peri-urban areas’’ — those transitioning from rural to urban development — in the wider Central Otago region’s problematic for rabbit control.

She says up to 16 rabbits per square kilometre have been logged in some places during ORC night-count monitoring.

While rabbit fencing helps, Caldwell says it’s common on smaller properties for one person to attempt to manage the problem, while their
neighbours aren’t.

That means control efforts are short-lived, and rabbits can reinvade.

Tomorrow, Friends of Tucker Beach Wildlife Management Reserve, in conjunction with ORC, are hosting a rabbit information and tool box demonstration day at the Tucker Beach Wildlife Reserve.

Local contractors will be on hand to provide information and demonstrations about best-practice rabbit control on small-to-medium-sized

There’ll also be demonstrations of techniques for using baits and fumigants, along with non-toxic methods, as well as monitoring and planning information, and conservation dog and ferret training.

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