Working with Traditional Owners to manage and restore Mallee Country

Wednesday 12 May, 2021

Rabbit control work has been completed in Taparoo in the Murray Sunset National Park in partnership with Parks Victoria, First People of Millewa Mallee and Working for Victoria crews.  The rabbit program continues three decades of work to control the impact of rabbits across the estate. 

The program builds stronger ties between Parks Victoria and First People of Millewa Mallee and helps to grow their skills, builds capacity and allow staff to get out on Country to manage and heal the land. 

Work undertaken includes baiting, fumigation and mechanical ripping of rabbit warrens in suitable areas. First People Millewa Mallee provided support on site during and post treatment to help monitor work and ensure cultural heritage is preserved.

Reducing populations of rabbits helps to regenerate native semi-arid and non-eucalyptus woodlands and Buloke woodlands. The control work occurs across 335,000 hectares and includes sections of Murray Sunset, Wyperfeld and Hattah-Kulkyne national parks; Hattah and Cowangie state forests; Lake Albacutya Park, and areas of state forest and reserves in the Patchewollock area.

Controlling rabbit populations improves habitats that supports native wildlife and helps to protect cultural heritage from damage. Feral rabbits compete with native wildlife for food, damage vegetation and contribute to overall landscape degradation. Feral rabbits can be found in many different habitats across Australia, they can be found wherever there is suitable soil for digging warrens. They are prolific breeders and can reproduce in either favourable or challenging conditions. 

Rabbits can ringbark trees and shrubs and they eat plant seeds which prevents regeneration. It is believed that feral rabbits contribute to biodiversity loss and may have played a part in the extinction of several small ground-dwelling mammals of Australia’s arid lands. 

This work is part of a broader threat management program involving a combination of animal control methods and weed control, carried out by Parks Victoria and partners as part of the Victorian Government’s Weeds and Pests on Public Land and Biodiversity Response Planning programs.  

Quotes attributable to Norman Wilson (Uncle Tinawin) First People Millewa Mallee 
“The feral rabbit population throughout our traditional lands continues to be an ongoing problem. In preparation for the mass plantings of endangered native plants and to heal and rejuvenate country, First People of the Millewa-Mallee have invested in human resources and equipment to combat the rabbit pest. 

We work in partnership with Parks Victoria to eradicate rabbits, other feral animals and noxious weeds on public lands, and we look to strengthen this complementary relationship into the future.”

Quotes attributable to Brendan Rodgers, Total Grazing Management Coordinator, Parks Victoria
“We’re really pleased to work closely with the First People of Millewa on rabbit control and see the success of this work which reduces the impacts of rabbits and restores habitats. Long term we hope that the improvement of the landscape will support the survival of the Major Mitchell Cockatoo, a threatened species, and provide greater protection to Aboriginal cultural sites.

“A combination of weed control and multiple animal control methods is resulting in excellent outcomes to protect some of our most special natural environments.”

“This program is a critical part of restoring habitat and improving overall landscape health.”


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Elizabeth Mckenzie

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