By Lizette Salmon, Gardens for Wildlife Albury-Wodonga Project Officer
It’s very disappointing when you put a plant in the garden and it’s nibbled to the ground by rabbits. Or when your chooks are killed by a fox. Feral pests are a challenge for many of us living on the outskirts of town. But pity the poor native flora and fauna that are really impacted by these pests.
Rabbits are considered the absolute worst of Australia’s invasive species, competing with native fauna for food and habitat and impacting more than 300 threatened species.
Foxes are a big problem too, with a single fox killing thousands of mammals, reptiles, birds and insects each year.
So what can we do? Putting guards around new plantings is a relatively easy fix and creating a fox-proof chicken coop will save your hens. But that isn’t getting to the root of the problem.
Traditionally, farmers and rural Landcare groups kept rabbit and fox numbers down, but now that Wodonga is expanding into open lands, small farmers, block owners and urban residents need to take up the management challenge.
Landowners are legally required to take action if they have rabbits on their land, with Parklands Albury-Wodonga suggesting that to successfully manage rabbits you need to remove the existing population by ferreting, poisoning or fumigating and to make your property ‘rabbit hostile’ by destroying burrows, removing places rabbits can hide and installing fences to prevent them entering your land or creating warrens under buildings.
Parklands field ranger, Corbin Geyer, has been ferreting to control rabbits for more than three years and on Sunday, June 2 he’ll lead a feral habitat walk and talk at Stringy Bark Reserve in Baranduda, spotting evidence of rabbit and fox activity and discussing ways to make land unfriendly to ferals.
That same morning Dr Nicki Munro, an ecologist with special interest in restoration ecology, will discuss the impacts and management of invasive species more broadly, including links between backyards and bush corridors.
The session runs from 10am to 12pm and will also feature a display of feral pest traps and information, habitat gardening tips, native animal brochures, native bee inn, reptile habitat, native plant giveaways and more.
There’s no need to RSVP, but please bring chairs or picnic rugs for the talk and wear closed shoes and long pants for the feral habitat walk.
For more information visit ecoportal.net.au.