Thursday, August 4, 2011

CANBERRA HAS ITS RABBITS


A few Rabbits on my walk this morning, nothing special in that but I'm not exactly beating them off my front lawn. As a teenager my friends and I spent many hours ferreting and trapping behind the southern suburbs along the Murrumbidgee (thank you Mr Champion) and they were always plentiful. The humble bunny was a welcome distraction to 1970's Canberra teenage boredom.

Rabbits were however a huge problem for Canberra in the 1950's...

Barrier Miner - Wednesday 8 December 1948



The war on the rabbit had begun...

The Sunday Herald - Sunday 23 January 1949



Not related to Canberra directly but an international market developed for rabbit meat. We were sending the bunnies back to Mother England. Smart thinking with such an abundant pest yet I imagine the ACT would not have had the refrigerated infrastructure perhaps to participate...

The Argus - Wednesday 2 August 1950



1950 saw the deliberate introduction of Myxomatosis known colloquially as 'myxo' to try and stem the bunny population in Australia. Myxomatosis is a disease caused by the Myxoma virus which affects (and kills) rabbits. By 1953 though signs of resistance to the disease were being shown in Canberra. Apparently we had 'super' rabbits...

The Canberra Times - Monday 2 November 1953



I can attest to still getting rabbits with myxo in the 70's but they were few and far between. Its been a very long time since I hunted a rabbit though my niece has 3 ferrets as pets. It is unlikely she would let me put them down a hole I think...

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2 comments:

  1. A very interesting post, especially your comment re teenage boredom. All towns & cities have their fare share of teenage crime these days, & it is my opinion that this is because there is little else that has the same excitement level. Somewhere along the line we took a wrong turn in regard to firearms legislation & pest erradication, & now we pay the price with more poisons being used & more petty crime. Tough to legislate on I know, but I think it needs looking at. All gun clubs would gladly implement a teenage training system with a little funding.
    Maybe if the numbers of wabbits return, the government can encourage kids to get out there & trap & shoot them again, with the added bonus of food & pelt pocket money.
    Keith.
    http://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com/

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  2. Today the kids can not cross a fence to the area we used to frequent Keith. It used to be rural leasehold where you could ask permission but now has government horse paddocks blocking access. I imagine there are still landholders willing to let kids put down a few nets for ferrets but think most theses days would be very wary.

    By the way we sold fox skins up to an average of $35 a pelt which dropped dramatically in the 80's to an average of just $4. Landholders complain about the numbers of foxes around lambing time still and they can thank the anti-fur brigade. In my eyes foxes are just a constant and replenishing pest.

    We will never eradicate them now but we can keep there numbers down and I agree with you Keith that incentive by way of a fur trade would help the economy. People should take to wearing fox coats today to support the Australian environment perhaps. Cheers Dave

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