Rabbit Infestation in Australia

Topics: Rabbit, Australia, European Rabbit Pages: 7 (2499 words) Published: December 14, 2012
Rabbit Infestation in Australia

Rabbits have been the worst invasive species that have been reported in Australia. They have widely spread in Australia leading to a massive destruction of the Australian environment. Rabbits have caused devastating effects on the ecosystem since they are believed to be the main factor in species loss in Australia. They have caused a lot of damages on crops and also destroyed and killed young trees and plants. In addition, rabbits cause serious problems on soil making it unproductive. Rabbits feed on native plants leaving the top soil bare and exposed making the land vulnerable to soil erosion. Rabbits have contributed to the thriving of non-native species like feral cats and foxes which have also caused a lot of damage to the Australian ecosystem (Pech and Hood1998). Rabbit infestation in Australia has become an environmental problem because they have destroyed the vegetation and also affected the Australian soil causing soil erosion and this highly affects farming in the continent. They have caused adverse effects mainly on vegetation, native plants, wild life and domestic livestock. Rabbits were first introduced in Australia in the 18th century. At first, they were brought in by the first fleet in 1778 by the settlers and were first bred as food animals in Australia by the European settlers. The domestic rabbit was used as food by the settlers because it was an easily available food rich in protein. The wild rabbits were introduced by Thomas Austin for the purpose of hunting. Thomas Austin was the first person to release 24 rabbits on his farm so as to dedicate his weekend for hunting unknowingly that it will create the problem of rabbit infestation in Australia. Through Austin’s release of the 24 rabbits, the species population grew enormously in Australia becoming an environmental problem. Thomas Austin is the one who is held responsible for rabbit infestation in Australia even though the other settler later released rabbits on their farms too. The rabbit infestation first started in Victoria where Austin had released them and spread to New South Wales in 1886 (Cooke, 1997). In 1900, the rabbit infestation later spread to the Northern territory and Western Australia making it become an environmental problem. The rapid growth of rabbits has become a threat to the Australian environment and agricultural sector and the problem needs to be dealt with. Rabbit infestation became an environmental problem in Australia because its widespread caused a lot of havoc on the Australian vegetation. The destruction of vegetation has led to the great loss of native plants by preventing the young and native plants from growing because they feed on them. Rabbits have caused a lot of damage to valuable crops in Australia. They have also caused soil erosion because they feed on all the plants leaving the soil bare and vulnerable to soil erosion. Rabbits have also grazed on all nutritional plants leading to a decrease in food and cash crop production in Australia and also they compete with native fauna for nutritious foods thus affecting plants growth. In addition, the rabbits compete for food with native animals and domestic livestock thus leading to a decrease of native animals and livestock that is being bred in Australia since there food to feed on is not enough. The European rabbit has brought a lot of serious environmental and agricultural problems in Australia. Rabbits have had adverse effects on farm productivity and native ecosystem because due to soil erosion, no plants can do well on the Australian soil and it takes a lot of time for the soil to become fertile for the growth of food and cash crops. The rabbit infestation in Australia has also led to financial strains to the natives because they are forced to pay higher prices for commodities like food and wool. The problem of rabbit infestation has become an environmental problem in Australia because it has seriously affected its ecosystem....
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