Community-led approaches can lead to better outcomes for management of european rabbits oryctolagus cuniculus and other invasive species

Andrew P. Woolnough, Lauren J. Hull, Michael J. Reid, Lisa B. Adams, Heidi M. Kleinert, Theodore R. Alter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


European Rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus are incredibly devastating pest animals in Australia and New Zealand. For over 150 years, different approaches to managing impacts of Rabbits have been considered with varying levels of success and longevity. The focus of Rabbit management has traditionally been directed towards miti-gating the impacts on agricultural production, where the economic costs are significant. Negative environmen-tal, social, and cultural impacts are often overlooked. We briefly report on the history and problem of Rabbits and their management, leading to the focus of the paper—a community-led approach to managing Rabbits via the Victorian Rabbit Action Network (VRAN). This approach considers that the key to successful strategies for management of European Rabbits is to understand the stakeholders. More specifically, it is about under-standing the individuals and organisations involved in Rabbit management and having a deep appreciation of their interests, needs, knowledge and experience, and of the political and cultural dimensions. This approach to Rabbit management brings together different types of knowledge, experiences and perspectives to address a common problem. It fosters creativity and innovation, is flexible, nimble and agile, and coordinates limited resources effectively. This inclusive approach, which has broad reach across rural and regional communities of Victoria, has resulted in a positive change in mind-set and practice. VRAN may be considered a blueprint of what can be achieved for all system participants through shared responsibility in addressing a significant biosecurity issue. It offers a mechanism whereby significant issues facing our society, such as the relationship between biodiversity, climate change, loss of habitat and invasive alien species, can be discussed and acted upon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-218
Number of pages9
JournalVictorian Naturalist
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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