Ongoing rabbit control benefits Eyre Peninsula threatened wattle.
An integrated and on-going rabbit control program to maintain low rabbit abundance at Peake Point on lower Eyre Peninsula has paid dividends and enabled Jumping jack wattle (Acacia enterocarpa), a nationally threatened wattle species, to regenerate in its natural environment.
In late 2009 a new population of the endangered Jumping jack wattle was discovered south of Tumby Bay. Located on a small peninsula called Peake Point, approximately 200 mature wattles were recorded.
Among these only three seedlings were observed, with low recruitment a result of apparent high grazing pressure.
Natural Resources Officer Gemma Marshall said the overall program aim was to protect the wattle and habitat by reducing rabbit grazing pressure.
“In 2010 we commenced our best practice rabbit control program at Peake Point. As a first step, rabbit baiting with 1080 oats was undertaken, followed by warren fumigation and destruction using explosives, as ripping was not practical on the coastal outcrop,” Ms Marshall said.
“Next we erected a 200 metre rabbit proof-fence across the neck of the peninsula to prevent new rabbits from moving into the area and to enable self-recruitment of the Jumping jack wattle. African Boxthorn control was also import part of the restoration program as rabbits were using them to build their warrens underneath their protective canopy,”
In March a survey of the Jumping jack wattle showed that the population has increased to 328 plants, with over 30 seedlings observed thriving.
“We are really happy with how the best practise method has resulted in low rabbit numbers. In the last six year we’ve continued the baiting program and are seeing extremely low rabbit numbers, with only two small areas showing active rabbit activity across the 45 hectare site,” Ms Marshall said.
For more information on our work please visit: www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/eyrepeninsula