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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The European rabbit problem in New Zealand

  • Author(s): Godfrey, Michael E. R.
  • et al.

Although in much smaller numbers now than previously, the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is still a major pest and a significant threat to agriculture, particularly sheep farming. The total cost of rabbit control is about NZ$5 million and the net annual return due to increased agricultural production has been calculated at about NZ$60 million. Aerial poisoning using 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) on carrot baits is the most effective means of controlling the European rabbit currently used In New Zealand. Approximately 600,000 acres are treated annually at a cost of about NZ$300,000. Due to the extremely rapid replacement of losses, kills of at least 90 percent are required before a significant long-term reduction occurs.

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