10 Jun 2013

Otago rabbit numbers booming

6:28 am on 10 June 2013

Rabbits in otago are in tip top shape and appear to be gaining the upper paw in the battle to control them.

Otago Regional Council said rabbit numbers are booming in the Upper Clutha basin and near Cromwell.

Director of services Jeff Donaldson said rabbit resistance to the calici virus has increased over the last several years and now, on average, 73% of rabbits in Otago are immune to it.

Mr Donaldson said the rabbits appear to be in great health heading towards the new breeding season - with high fat content.

Farmers and lifestyle block owners are required to control them, but with more lifestyle properties being developed, more and more people are unaware of the signs of a rabbit problem.

The regional council has threatened two landowners with prosecution for failing to come up with pest management plans to control their rabbits.

Mr Donaldson said there is only one window of opportunity each winter to carry out large scale poison operations, so timing is critical.

He said one of the properties threatened with prosecution now plans to poison this winter and he is sure the other property will as well.