Albert Town community-led rabbit management programme

Action summary

The Albert Town community-led rabbit management programme was undertaken on public and crown land from Hikuwai Conservation Reserve along the walking track to the outlet of Lake Wanaka in winter 2022. This land is owned/managed by Department of Conservation (DOC) and Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) and it is these two parties that coordinated and undertook the control operation.

Otago Regional Council (ORC) Biosecurity Officers undertook night counts of rabbits before and after the control operation as a way of measuring how effective the control operation had been. The images below show the difference in rabbit numbers observed in the Albert Town area before and after the control operation.

The results show a significant reduction in the number of rabbits observed at the Albert Town end of the control area, particularly around the Hikuwai Conservation Reserve.


Next steps

The management approach for rabbits in in the Regional Pest Management Plan 2019-2020 (RPMP) is ‘sustained control’ rather than ‘eradication’, which is why we will not be taking action if rabbits are still occasionally sighted in the area where the control operation was undertaken.

However, to ensure that the positive impacts of the control operation are realised for longer, DOC have been making improvements to the rabbit fencing around the Hikuwai Conservation Reserve.

QLDC are also installing rabbit fencing around Templeton Park and will look to undertake control work in that area next winter if required. ORC will also continue to work with DOC and QLDC to ensure that rabbit populations are monitored, and action is taken before populations reach the same numbers as have been seen in the area in the past few years.

We are confident that we can, collectively, support better rabbit management in Albert Town with short-term steps leading to a longer-term solution. Rabbit control needs to be ongoing to ensure rabbit numbers are maintained or reduced further.

For more information on rabbit management and the RPMP rules, visit our Pest Hub.

Register your interest in a community-led rabbit management programme

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