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Rabbits Overrun Australian Town October 9, 2009
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Shortly after their introduction to Australia in 1859, European rabbits had reached plague proportions. Farmers and local councils tried rabbit-proof fences, traps, poisoned baits and fumigating machines, but had little success.
A huge invasion of rabbits around one southeastern Australian city threatens to destroy key infrastructure and wreck the livelihood of area farmers.

Residents of Aberdeen say the furry marauders are burrowing beneath the foundations of their homes, as well as damaging highways and rail lines.

Crops and flowerbeds are also not safe. “You don’t even bother trying to grow anything anymore because the mongrels will just go for it,” farmhand Ken Smith told the Daily Telegraph.

Town leaders are drawing up a plan to combat the invasion, but many feel it’s too late to get rid of an infestation that has been growing steadily for 10 years.

Rabbits were introduced to Australia in 1859 by a wealthy rancher who wanted them for hunting.

But hunters could not keep up with the extraordinary rate at which the animals multiplied. Soon, millions of rabbits were ravaging the environment.

In the 1950s, a foreign disease was introduced into the rabbit population, which soon wiped out 99 percent of the pests.

Photo: Australian National Archives