Since 2008 volunteers of the Friends of Mount Majura, the Mount Ainslie Weeders, the Watson Woodland Working Group and the wider public assisted Parks and Conservation Service with the control of rabbits in the Mt Ainslie and Mt Majura nature reserves. For three years in a row volunteers recorded rabbit warrens using GPS. In 2011/12 fiftyfive volunteers spent over 750 hours monitoring warrens of more than 1300 heactares bushland and recorded 1167 rabbit warrens. Click here to learn more about the project.
From October 2011 to March 2012 volunteers of the Friends of Mount Majura, the Mount Ainslie Weeders and the Watson Woodland Working Group joined forces with members of the wider public to map rabbit warrens in the Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie nature reserves.
When : Thursday November 10th from 6-7pm
Where : Entrance to the Nature Park at the end of Phillip Avenue. Plenty of parking available off Kellaway Street. Here is a map of parking and entrances.
- Meet the local ranger and hear about the project
- Learn how to identify active warrens
- Adopt a mapping block
- Sign up for a GPS training session
For more information email to : firstname.lastname@example.org
If this time or date is not suitable for you but you are interested in helping out please email email@example.com to let us know. Rabbit mapping is not a difficult task, very basic GPS skills are required but we can show you all you need to know. Taking part is a wonderful way to get to know our mountain better as it gets you off the regular paths!
Please download this poster to spread the word about this meeting
The Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, Dr Maxine Cooper, is undertaking an investigation into the Canberra Nature Park (nature reserves). The Commissioner released expert reports on a number of issues and invited public comment on these reports.
Managing Rabbits in Canberra Nature Park by Dr Kent Williams (pdf, 885Kb)
The Friends of Mount Majura (FoMM) submitted that the recommendations of the Report: Managing Rabbits in Canberra Nature Park are fully implemented to maintain and enhance the conservation values of nature reserves in a sustainable way.
Submission on Managing Rabbits in Canberra Nature Parkt (08.04.2011) by Friends of Mount Majura (pdf, 142Kb)
Rabbits are an environmental pest. Their grazing destroys vegetation and habitat and their warrens and digging cause soil erosion. In 2008/09 and 2009/10 Parks, Conservation and Lands with the help of volunteers carried out a rabbit control program on the Mount Majura, the Mount Ainslie Nature Reserves, the Watson Woodland and adjacent lands. Here is an
The ACT Government wishes to thank all the volunteers involved in the mapping of warrens on Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie Nature Reserves, Watson Woodlands and the surrounding Hackett Horse Paddocks. Volunteers spent over 1,000 hours mapping the warrens on this land and this data has been used by Parks, Conservation and Lands (PCL) to develop the control program. This significant effort has been crucial to the success of the program.
What works have been undertaken to date?
In Autumn 2010, PCL employed contractors to gas and poison the rabbits on the nature reserves and surrounding horse paddocks. These contractors have used the data collected by the volunteers to locate the warrens. The accessible warrens were gassed using phosphine, and within the inaccessible areas, pindone carrot bait has been laid under bait stations.
The bait stations used are small cages that are designed to restrict access by animals such as kangaroos and other native animals while at the same time allow rabbits access to the carrot bait. Prior to laying any poisoned bait, a number of free feeds (non poisoned carrot) were undertaken to condition rabbits to eating the bait and determine the best location for bait stations.
What has the program achieved?
Spotlight monitoring shows that the program is achieving good results. The program in autumn 2009 achieved control of approximately 85% of the rabbit population present. Spotlight monitoring to date suggests that the combined Autumn 2009 and
Autumn 2010 programs have achieved around 90% control of the population present across the area before management began.
Some of the reserves neighbours have undertaken large scale control programs that have also been successful. PCL is still working with adjoining landholders to encourage cooperative rabbit management.
Rabbits can still be seen in some areas
PCL is aware that there are still some rabbits present across the reserves and ongoing management will be required.
Monitoring suggests that the area of most concern is within Mt Ainslie Nature Reserve immediately adjacent to the suburbs of Ainslie and Campbell. Prior to commencing the program this year, PCL staff were aware that this area presented a real challenge for control as many of the remaining rabbits in this section are finding suitable harbour in the adjoining backyards. The current program has aimed to poison these rabbits using bait stations within the reserve; however, this was not as successful as hoped. The grass growth that was seen during autumn, as a result of the rainfall received, did not help with the bait uptake in this area. PCL is currently considering what control options should be deployed at this site in the future.
What if I have feral rabbits living in my yard?
PCL is interested in hearing from anyone who has feral rabbits living on their property. Controlling these rabbits is seen as a priority, as if left uncontrolled; they could potentially become a source of reinvasion for the surrounding area. If you have feral rabbits living in your yard or amongst vegetation on your boundary please send an email with your residential address and phone number to:
This information will be used when deciding on future control programs within the nature reserve. The timing of a future control program is yet to be finalised, however it may not occur for some months. Seasonal conditions will be considered when planning for future programs.
For further information please contact Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.
ACT Parks, Conservation and Lands
Project Information Session
Thursday, 12 November 2009, 6.00 to 7.00pm
Meet at Philip Avenue nature park entrance gate in Hackett, car parking at Kellaway Street
Wear sturdy shoes and bring something to write.
Hear about the project,
Learn to identify active warrens,
Register for a free GPS training session, and
Adopt a mapping site.
For enquiries and to register your interest as a rabbit mapper, please contact the FoMM coordinator at Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Phone: 62477515.
In 2008 Friends of Mount Majura successfully lobbied the ACT Government to allocate funds for rabbit control in the Mount Ainslie and Mount Majura nature reserves and the woodlands of Justice Robert Hope Park in North Watson. Control work was carried out from late summer to winter 2009 following the mapping of warrens by volunteers.
Parks, Conservation and Lands plans a follow-up rabbit control program for Summer 2009/10 and volunteers are invited to participate in a second round of mapping warrens.
Volunteers will receive free training in the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) and an introduction on how to identify active rabbit warrens in the field.
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The following documents are prepared for volunteers who participate in the mapping of rabbit warrens.
Risk Assessment – how to work safely in the field
Line of contact to be followed if there is an emergency or something untoward happens during the mapping. For a medical emergency, Triple 000. Then volunteers should call the Parks and Conservation Depot in Mitchell on 6207 2113 during working hours. Otherwise call Canberra Connect on 132281 and ask for the Parks and Conservation Agency Rep. who is on call at any time.
Rabbit Mapping GPS Garmin 60-Manual – a brief introduction on how to use a Garmin 60 GPS to record rabbit warrens
Rabbit Mapping Field Data Sheet – for manual records in the field
Rabbit mapping Sign-On Sheet – please complete for each mapping session
RABBIT WARREN MAPPING – A JOINT PROJECT
It’s 7am on a surprisingly chilly morning in late Summer. We’re up on the shoulder of Mount Ainslie, armed with a precious GPS unit, orange tape, folder, thermos (old softies, we are) and ready for a long wait, if necessary.
Yes, it’s a stakeout! Somewhere on, or near this shoulder we know there must be a rabbit warren, from the number of recently used buck heaps. Several previous searches have failed to uncover so much as a single burrow. But we’ve got the bug! Discovering those ominous holes in the ground is deeply satisfying and yes, addictive! If we can’t locate the warrens, then we’ll lie in wait for the furry inhabitants to give us a few clues…… or so we thought! But like the early bird, the rabbits had already come and gone, breakfast over. Conceding round one to the bunnies, we resorted to another painstaking search around the area, finally locating a couple of well concealed warrens.
Talk by Dr. Brian Cooke
Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), University of Canberra
Thursday 28 May 2009, 7.30pm
ACT Sports House, 100 Maitland Street, Hackett
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Enquiries: Ph 6247 7515 or e-mail email@example.com
The Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) had a huge impact on one of Australia’s worst pest species. Thirteen years after the release of the virus however, rabbit numbers are on the rise again. Hear from expert Dr. Brian Cooke the lessons learnt from an Australia-wide ‘experiment’ that were completely overlooked during earlier experiences with myxomatosis. What are our options to control rabbits so that ecosystems can be sustained and the decline of native vegetation can be reversed?
Hackett residents will almost certainly have noticed an alarming increase in rabbits in the area over the last few years. Unfortunately this is not just a local problem with rabbit populations all over Australia increasing as the pests build up resistance to rabbit calici disease and myxomatosis.
Rabbit calici disease virus was introduced in Hackett in 2007 but was not successful in reducing rabbit numbers. Parks, Conservation and Lands (PCL) in Territory and Municipal Services will therefore be conducting a rabbit control program on Majura and Mt Ainslie Nature Reserves, Watson Woodlands and Hackett Horse Paddocks throughout the Autumn.