Phil Biggs rabbit hunter with his rifle

Rabbit numbers on Waiheke have exploded and native trees and vegetation are under threat as the pest competes for resources.

One neighbourhood has called on Auckland Council to intervene as residents struggle with the infestation, and a park ranger at Whakanewha has observed a shift in behaviour with more of the rabbits moving to bush areas and ring-barking trees – even munching on kānuka which they have avoided in the past.

Omiha Welfare and Recreation Society (OWRS) has drafted a letter to council, with long-term residents reporting “unprecedented numbers of rabbits in the last two to three months”.

In the face of large-scale destruction of vegetable gardens, some owners have had to abandon their plots with further reports of ring-barking of trees and damage to saplings to the extent they are unable to regenerate. All this despite their concerted efforts with fences, netting, traps and poison. • Liza Hamilton

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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