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Development of a simple daytime rabbit census method based on activity signs - VC0228

Description
Damage to crops by the wild rabbit is the major economic threat to UK agriculture represented by any wildlife species in the UK. Furthermore, rabbit numbers continue increase as the effects of the disease myxomatosis wane and more robust management strategies need to be devised. The provision of sound advice on the cost-effectiveness of rabbit management strategies requires simple and reliable methods for assessing the size of the problem in a given agricultural setting. Recent work has provided a validated method for measuring rabbit numbers based on counts of the rabbits present on fields at night (Project VC0219). This census technique can now be used to develop and validate a simple method by which advisors could asses the scale of a given rabbit problem, based on signs of rabbit activity observed during a daytime visit. This would enable such staff to determine, based on sound science, whether further action in the form of more detailed investigations is warranted on a case by case basis. This is of importance to MAFF policy as an improved understanding of the economics of any pest problem uderpins decisions in the context of statutory responsibilities such as under the 1947 Agriculture Act and the 1954 Pests Act.
Objective
1. To develop and validate a method, for use during single day-time site visits, that determines the likely extent of a given rabbit problem.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Development of a simple daytime rabbit census method based on activity signs   (2343k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2001

To: 2002

Cost: £55,391
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Keywords
Animals              
Pest and Weed Control              
Pest Control              
Plants and Animals              
Rabbits              
Wildlife Management              
Fields of Study
Wildlife Management