Silver lining: floods help rabbit control programme

Loading up last nights take . . . . Pest controllers Jesse Shute (left) and Tony McNutt load up their side-by-side after another successful nights taking at the Riverside Reserve area in Balclutha. PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE



Last week’s flooding did not break everyone’s hearts. In fact it helped one group of workers. Mainland Vector Contracting pest controller Tony McNutt said his team had been working solidly for the past several weeks on rabbit extermination in the wider Balclutha area and the floods actually helped.
“It condensed them into a much smaller area making them easier to target and drowned all the younger ones in the ground as the water levels rose,”
In just more than three nights of pest eradication, Mr McNutt’s pest control team has shot 932 rabbits in the Riverside Reserve-Balclutha Aerodrome area.
“Since the last Otago Regional Council control event about four years ago, they have come back, making a hell of a mess in the motocross track area, out on the aerodrome runway and on the nearby rugby playing fields, with all the burrows and holes they have dug.
“Over the past four months we have taken over 1600 rabbits off these areas, that’s similar
numbers to what we would get in central,” he said.
Mr McNutt said the operation had been a combined Clutha District Council-ORC event and he had found the residents in Balclutha very supportive of their night-time operations.
“People have been  telling us about how many rabbits they have seen, everyone has been
very supportive of us and our work and they have all obeyed the signs and notices we put up before starting operations each night.”
He expects them to be working on the reserve area for another week.