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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Changes in bait acceptance by rabbits in Australia and New Zealand


Control of rabbits, Oryctolagus cuniculus, by poisoned bait has been widely practiced in Australia and New Zealand for many years. Since the 1950s, Compound 1080 has been the active ingredient and yielded good results (ca 90% kills) when first used. Recent trails (1973-74) in New Zealand showed that the main reason for poor results obtained nowadays is the failure of many rabbits to eat bait. Recent trials in Western Australia showed that there has been a significant decline in effectiveness of rabbit control by baiting during the period 1958-1975. Shortcomings in operational technique and increased resistance to the poison 1080 were eliminated as being major possible causes of recent poor results. An increased incidence of neophobic behavior in rabbit populations as a result of artificial selection by poison baiting is suggested as the most likely explanation of our findings.

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