BREEDING LIKE RABBITS
In the Roxby Downs area, rabbit numbers have been measured at densities of more than 600 per km². Rabbits, along with domestic stock, considerably reduce grass cover which reduces food and shelter for native species. This reduction in vegetation cover increases the susceptibility of small animals to predation by cats and foxes.
The Arid Recovery Reserve was established in response to the dramatic drop in rabbit numbers after the Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD) reached the Roxby Downs region (see the History page for more information).
The reserve was fenced in stages, with rabbit control in each stage becoming more efficient as better control methods were developed. Rabbits were completely eradicated from a 60km² area in 2001 using a combination of 1080 poisoning, warren fumigation, trapping and shooting.
Spotlight counts indicate that rabbit densities outside the reserve increase periodically, but have still not reached pre-RCD levels.
Since the rabbits and stock were removed from the Arid Recovery Reserve significant plant changes have occurred. Satellite imagery shows that the removal of rabbits and grazing pressure plant cover increases significantly.