Residents in Eden, Merimbula, Tura Beach, Tathra and Bermagui are worried wascally wabbits are damaging local reserves, sporting grounds and gardens.
But Bega Valley Shire Council vegetation office Terry Thompson says native bandicoots, whose numbers are on the incline, are also to blame.
“We see the diggings of both animals side-by-side in all areas so it is difficult to undertake any sort of control program that is not specific for rabbits,” he said.
“In the past year we’ve had some success in releasing rabbit calicivirus (or RHD rabbit haemorrhagic disease) at multiple Council owned sites in all coastal towns.
“This needs to be done with care because releasing calicivirus too often is counterproductive as it only serves to build immunity within rabbit populations.
“We also carry out warren fumigation in places where rabbits have dug warrens, but we’re finding that most rabbits within the shire’s boundaries live aboveground in dense coastal vegetation, making fumigation impossible.
“Pindone baiting is another option, but the baits used are non-specific and pose a risk to pets and native animals such as bandicoots. It’s use is also restricted, meaning it cannot be used on small properties or in densely populated areas.
“Council has not given up on rabbits, though. We concentrate on areas where we are most likely to achieve the best results, and adapt our strategies when operating in high-use public areas to minimise risks to community members.
“Maintaining a good program is essential if we want to see a reduction in rabbit numbers and we frequently liaise with the Livestock Health and Pest Authority to ensure we are using best practice.
“Meanwhile, residents are encouraged to address rabbit harbour on their own land where possible by rabbit-proofing gardens and under building areas to reduce rabbit damage,” Mr Thompson said.
For further information on rabbit eradication, phone Council on 6499 2222.