Update On Damage to Plantings at Omaha


Rabbits have been browsing native plants recently planted in the backdunes of the North Omaha Reserve by members of the Omaha Shorebird Protection Trust and other volunteers.  In the first few days after planting, rabbits particularly targeted houpara or 5-finger, but have also attacked karo and taupata to a lesser degree.  They don’t seem interested in manuka or flax.

The accompanying graph follows progress of the houpara since planting on 18th August.  After day 6 since planting, most of the seriously browsed houpara were uplifted and repotted to recover for replanting next year.  From that time monitoring numbers of damaged plants was meaningless, but keeping a record of undamaged houpara showed a stabilization since spraying with the rabbit repellant “Treepel”.  The first spraying was done on day 8  after planting, then a follow-up spraying was carried out on day 15.  The graph clearly shows that the spray is effective and has arrested further decline of undamaged plants.

Use of the rabbit pesticide Pindone in bait stations is leading to some success, with several dead rabbits showing up in recent weeks around the reserve, although live rabbits are still frequently seen in the area.  It is hoped the rabbit population can be got under control quickly as they not only damage young plants but can attract predators to the reserve where the breeding season for rare birds like dotterels and oystercatchers is now underway.

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