Sunday, 12 January 2020

The Rabbits Invade


A display acknowledging the presence and history of rabbits in the country at the 
National Museum of Australia, Canberra.
Display about rabbits at the Australian National Museum, Canberra. Photographed by Susan Walter.

Rabbits, which are native to Spain and southern France, may have been delicate creatures that needed cossetting by a warrener to survive in Northern Europe, but once introduced by the British to nice warm Australia, they had no trouble colonising and indeed over running the country. They remain a great menace to farming livelihoods and the natural environment, despite decades of the most extreme control measures being applied.


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4 comments:

Colin and Elizabeth said...

We never seem to learn from these things do we?

Susan said...

Well, in fact, the introduction of rabbits to Australia was more complicated than I've indicated above. Also, it was acclimatisation -- the science of the day. Now we know to not just randomly dump exotic species, but then they didn't. And we must remember the times that introductions have been very successful, particularly as biocontrols. People only ever remember the failures such as cane toads, but cactoblastis moth and dung beetles saved Australia once opuntia and cows were there for good.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

True we only remember the failures BUT they do tend to be big ones...and there are too many of them!!!

Susan said...

Exotic species introduced thoughtlessly do tend to be a disaster, but it should be a warning to be more careful, not a reason to not do it after careful research. Biocontrols are a much better alternative to chemical pesticides if used wisely.

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