There was a story in yesterday's 'Manly Daily' news publication: http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/baiting-pet-deaths-link/ which highlights some of the issues associated with invasive animal management in urban areas.
While it may seem strange to release a pest animal control agent in an urban environment, it is done for good reason.
Feral rabbits can cause a lot of damage, even in urban environments. There are reports of burrows in sports fields (causing risk to users) and rabbit burrowing can undermine building foundations, roads and airport runways. Less seriously, but still causing annoyance to urban dwellers, wild rabbits cause damage to ornamental and food-producing gardens. They also compete with native animals for food, water and shelter.
A submission to the IA CRC's pilot 'RabbitScan' exercise conducted last year confirmed the damage that rabbits can do in such circumstances.
"A sports oval manager from the Central Coast in NSW said he had used two tonnes of soil in six weeks to fill-in rabbit holes. He said the sportsfield was currently closed due to the extensive damage." (more: see the media release from the former Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry)
Calicivirus is occasionally released to boost efficacy, but generally occurs throughout Australia. Responsible pet owners should vaccinate their animals against it, as with other diseases or viruses they may be exposed to.
Pet owners should also desex pets so that they may not contribute to further pest animal problems should they escape. When it comes to pest animal management, prevention is always better than resorting to control options.
(Posted by IA CRC Communications Manager, Alexandra Bagnara)