Grave fate awaits Invercargill cemetery bunnies - Kogonuso

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Nov 28, 2018

Grave fate awaits Invercargill cemetery bunnies

Invercargill's burgeoning cemetery rabbit populations are on "burrowed" time.

A cull is about to get underway at Eastern Cemetery, Southland Crematorium and Sandy Point, after ongoing problems with rabbits burrowing into turf and damaging graves.

A controlled shoot will take place at all three sites tonight, before fumigant pellets are placed down burrows at Eastern Cemetery and Southland Crematorium tomorrow.

The cull was originally scheduled for 22 November, but was set back by heavy rain and soggy ground.

Invercargill City Council owns the three cemeteries, and have battled with the resident rabbits for several years. Under the Environment Southland Pest Strategy, the council are obligated to actively manage pest animals.

Council spokesperson Hannah McLeod said it's difficult to estimate just how many rabbits currently live in the cemeteries, although locals have described seeing "hundreds."

Mrs McLeod said the cemeteries provide favourable breeding conditions, where burrows can be established easily and with minimal disturbance.

"Rabbits cause severe damage to turf and they can have extensive warrens under the ground which reduce ground stability, causing subsidence," she said.

The council has been inundated with calls from the public offering their assistance with the night-time shoot.

Although it reflects the "classic Kiwi can-do attitude", but they have had to decline the offers for health and safety reasons.

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