Department of Parks adn Wildlife
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European Rabbit - Photo © DAFWA

The European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is a native of south-western Europe and was introduced to Britain in the eleventh century.

Domestic rabbits arrived in Australia with the First Fleet in 1788.

It was the fastest spread of a colonising mammal anywhere in the world, soon followed by the European Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) using the rabbit as a reliable and abundant source of food.

Rabbits in Western Australia

In Western Australia, rabbits are declared pests of agriculture under the Agriculture and Related Resources Protection Act 1976. This means landholders are required to control rabbits on their properties.

Rabbits have a significant impact on the environment by grazing native plants, particularly on threatened plants and communities, and competing with native animals for food and habitat.

Feral cats and foxes use rabbits as a reliable source of food. However, when adverse conditions such as drought significantly reduce rabbit populations, feral cats and foxes shift their predation to native species.

Controlling the rabbit population

Parks and Wildlife will continue to manage rabbit infestations that threaten areas of ecological significance using the most appropriate and effective management option for the situation.

The department also works with neighbours under the pdfGood Neighbour Policy1.34 MB, recognising that a coordinated approach with landowners is essential.

Links

The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia

PestsSmart: Rabbits

RabbitScan