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Rabbits are Enemy Number 1

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Healthy Environments

New research by the Threatened Species Recovery Hub has shown that invasive or pest species are a problem for 1,257 threatened species in Australia, or about four out of five species.

The research also identified the top ten invasive species based on how many threatened species they impact.

Lead researcher Stephen Kearney from the University of Queensland said many people may be surprised at which species top the list.

"Rabbits, phytophthora and feral pigs are the top three pest species impacting Australia’s threatened species,” Mr Kearney said. 

Rabbits are the most destructive invasive species, impacting over 300 threatened species. In contrast, cats are a major threat to about 123 threatened species, and foxes, 95. 

A key reason that rabbits impact such a very high number of native species is that they impact both threatened plants and animals.

Rabbits destroy plants and can stop them regenerating by eating the seedlings, they compete with native grazing animals for food and even boost the number of predators like cats and foxes.

This is why Wheatbelt NRM works with landholders to tackle the top 3 ferals in the Wheatbelt – cats, foxes and rabbits, in a coordinated effort through our work with landholders and by supporting the successful Red Card program.

Australia's 10 worst invaders and the number of species they are threatening:


European rabbit: 321

Phytophthora plant disease: 236

Feral pig: 149

Feral cat: 123

Feral goat: 116

European red fox: 95

Lantana: 95

Blackberry: 47

Black rat: 42

Feral cattle: 39

For information on how to control rabbits, foxes or cats on your property, contact Jacquie Lucas, Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator on 9670 3113, or