Management Notes for this Location:
A combination of ferret/cat control, disease and increased hunting kept the population on Ascension relatively low until recently. However it is thought that the eradication of cats in 2002-2004 released the rabbits from predation pressure which allowed numbers to increase again (Bell & Boyle 2008).
The ultimate goal of rabbit control of Ascension is long term management to reduce the impacts of rabbits on the island.
Bell and Boyle (2008) list the following as practical control methods for rabbits in St Helena:
- Rabbit-proof fencing
- Disease (Rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD))
Bell and Boyle (2008) conclude that the best option for control involves targeted poisoning and trapping and settlements. Even though there is public concern about poisoning and is relatively labour intensive, it is thought to be the most effective control option at present. Intensive control should continue for three to five years, after which long term control programmes should be maintained. Monitoring is essential to measure the effectiveness of control and ensure populations are being kept at a minimum. Public education is also essential.
For the full case study of rabbit control on Ascension Island please follow this link to Management of rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) on Ascension: a case study.