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Rabbit Control: Baiting Operations

All the information you need on current and historic rabbit control baiting operations in Queenstown Lakes.

During August 2023, Queenstown Lakes District Council carried out multiple operations to reduce rabbits on land adjacent to the Twin River trails and on Widgeon Place Reserve in Lake Hayes Estate. The estimated date for warning sign removal is May 2024.

Previous operations

  • The last bait application was completed on 27 August 2023. Monitoring shows the operation was successful in reducing rabbit numbers.

    About the operation

    This rabbit control operation was aimed to reduce rabbit numbers within the identified reserves and to comply with Otago Regional Council’s Pest Management Plan.

    Environmental effects from rabbits include:

    • Depletion of plant communities and species diversity

    • An increase in areas of bare land as well as soil disturbance

    • A reduction in soil organic matter, and deterioration of soil nutrients and structure

    • Adverse effect on indigenous and other fauna when high numbers of rabbit predators target alternative prey.

    Carcass monitoring will determine when warning signs will be removed from the treatment area. The estimated date for warning sign removal is May 2024, however, warning signs will:

    • Be removed earlier if monitoring indicates that carcasses have broken down, or

    • Stay up for longer if monitoring suggests that pesticide residues could still be present

    When we remove warning signs you will know that you can resume normal activities in the area. Until this time, risks can be eliminated by following these simple rules:

    • DO NOT touch bait

    • WATCH CHILDREN at all times

    • DO NOT EAT animals from this area

    • Remember, poison baits or carcasses are DEADLY to DOGS

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  • The last application was completed on 8 September. Monitoring shows the operation was successful in reducing rabbit numbers.

    About the operation

    This rabbit control operation was aimed to reduce rabbit numbers within the identified reserves and to comply with Otago Regional Council’s Pest Management Plan.

    Environmental effects from rabbits include:

    • Depletion of plant communities and species diversity

    • An increase in areas of bare land as well as soil disturbance

    • A reduction in soil organic matter, and deterioration of soil nutrients and structure

    • Adverse effect on indigenous and other fauna when high numbers of rabbit predators target alternative prey.

    Carcass monitoring will determine when warning signs will be removed from the treatment area. The estimated date for warning sign removal is May 2024, however, warning signs will:

    • Be removed earlier if monitoring indicates that carcasses have broken down, or

    • Stay up for longer if monitoring suggests that pesticide residues could still be present

    When we remove warning signs you will know that you can resume normal activities in the area. Until this time, risks can be eliminated by following these simple rules:

    • DO NOT touch bait

    • WATCH CHILDREN at all times

    • DO NOT EAT animals from this area

    • Remember, poison baits or carcasses are DEADLY to DOGS

    Operation area

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Frequently asked questions

  • The following toxin will be used:

    • Carrot baits covered in a 17g/kg Pindone paste

    This operation consists of at least three separate toxin applications using carrot bait, each estimated to be four nights apart. Carrot baits that contain the pesticide Pindone will be distributed by air drop using a helicopter for Twin River Trails and by motorbike for Widgeon Place.

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  • This Twin River Trail rabbit control operation for is planned during August by helicopter using a trickle bucket to spread bait. The exact timing is weather dependent.

    The Widgeon Place Reserve operation will start from Thursday 10 August 2023. There will be 3 bait drops scheduled a week apart to complete this work which will be weather dependant.

    Before any of these operations begin, warning signs will be installed at all official access points to reserves where bait is to be laid.

    Please note: other private landowners have a responsibility to undertake rabbit control on their land, and some private operations are already underway. These sites should have warning signage in place too.

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  • Pindone is poisonous to humans and domestic animals. Always remember:

    • DO NOT handle the bait
    • SUPERVISE CHILDREN at all times
    • DO NOT EAT animals from these areas or within two (2) km of it
    • DO NOT allow DOGS access to animal carcasses or bait
    • KEEP DOGS ON LEASH and under control at all times

    If you suspect any human poisoning contact the National Poisons Centre on 0800 764 766.

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    • Keep your dog on a leash in any reserves where rabbit control is underway and signage is in place.
    • DO NOT allow DOGS access to animal carcasses.

    Dogs need to consume a number of carrot baits or rabbits to be affected, but if you suspect your dog has been poisoned you should contact your local vet.

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  • There are high densities of rabbits throughout these reserves. Pesticide offers the most cost-effective way to reduce the rabbit population, and the aim of this operation is to reduce rabbit infestations to a very low level (Level 2 of the Modified McLean Scale).

    Given the high level of scrub cover and the steepness of the face in the Twin River trail operation area, the best result will be achieved by the use of helicopter to spread bait, using a trickle bucket for accuracy.

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  • Private landowners have a responsibility to undertake rabbit control on their land, and some private operations are already underway such as in lower Bridesdale Farm, Lake Hayes Estate. These sites should have warning signage in place.

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Any questions?

If you have any questions or concerns about a QLDC rabbit control operation, please contact us: