A landholder working on their own can make a difference on the land, as part of community working together landholders can make the difference in the landscape.
Tim Bloomfied, Mentor Victorian Rabbit Action Network
What do you do when rabbit populations have your community in a stew? You get everybody together and design a way to tackle it together, and then you tell the rest of Australia. Well, that’s how the Bellarine Peninsula went about it.
The group recently received seed funding through a Small Grants Innovation fund via the Victorian Rabbit Action Network to pilot a ‘cluster leader’ approach to engaging people in the fight against one of Australia’s worst pests, which involves building up local ‘rabbit control champions’ and running community field days.
The local rabbit champions encourage their neighbors to form groups to manage the rabbit problem together. This approach promotes co-operative control efforts across ‘community fences’ and allows cost-sharing of machinery use to control rabbits.
In a bid to raise awareness of their field day on the Bellarine Peninsula, Geoff McFarlane decided to share their story with ABC’s National radio show, Australia All Over.
Geoff said, “There are people right across Australia trying to control rabbits.”
“We wanted to get on the radio and share with anyhow who would listen how we can use an integrated community method to shrink the problems caused by one of the country’s worst pests,” Geoff said.
The Victorian Rabbit Action Network is a pilot project between the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. Tim Bloomfield, a mentor of the Network, assisted the Bellarine group in sharing their ‘recipe for rabbit management’.
He said, “Good rabbit management is about improving the natural and agricultural environments.”
“We can achieve this when we mentor landholders and applaud loudly their initiatives to invest time and effort in winning the rabbit war.”
“Local communities telling their stories about how they go about dealing with the issue builds a collective consciousness and library of community knowledge; we need to acknowledge successes like these by telling the world – at the end of the day, this is where the rubber hits the road,” said Tim. “All power to communities that want to come together as one to manage this problem.”
The Victorian Rabbit Action Network is a joint initiative between the Victorian Government and the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre.