Wild rabbits are being tackled on the Southern Downs.
Wild rabbits are being tackled on the Southern Downs. Rebecca Zanker

No bunny business as council ups ante

RABBITS might look cute and fluffy but they're also a restricted invasive animal and illegal in Queensland.

Bundaberg Regional Council this week posted to its Facebook page, warning locals about the pest and what they should do if the animal is spotted.

"Rabbits are one of Australia's major agricultural and environmental pests, costing between $600 million and $1 billion annually,” a council spokeswoman said.

"Bundaberg does not have an overly large rabbit population but there are some smaller colonies in Wallaville, Winfield, Gin Gin and Pine Creek.”

Rabbits eat pasture and crops, compete with native animals, cause soil erosion and prevent the regeneration of native vegetation.

The animals are a restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014 and council said while rabbits were not a major concern in the Bundaberg region and numbers were quite low, the social media post was issued as part of their Pest Files information campaign.

Council said introducing and selling rabbits in Queensland was illegal, and reminded the public that penalties do apply for those wanting to keep the cuddly creatures.

"The maximum penalty for owning rabbits is $44,000,” she said.

"In the past, rabbit ownership has been brought to council attention.

"In most cases, residents were not aware owning a pet rabbit is illegal in Queensland.

"They have always been happy to oblige with the law once informed and the rabbits handed over to council officers or sent back to friends or family in New South Wales.”

If spotted, Bundaberg Regional Council have urged people to phone their office, destruct the habitat, or, conduct their own poison baiting "which works best when rabbits are not breeding”.

"A rabbit burrow is generally found under piles of logs, rocks or under buildings,” the council spokeswoman said.

"They are about eight inches in diameter and will usually feature a worn out section of ground at the entrance of the burrow.

"The best course of action to take when it comes to preventing rabbits from breeding is to eliminate areas in which they can thrive.”

For more information on rabbits and their status in Queensland visit https://goo.gl/FCvocQ.



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