Environmental issues

Pests and weeds


Domestic rabbits were brought to Australia on the First Fleet in 1788, but wild rabbits were first let loose on the Australian bush in 1859, in Victoria. By 1886, they had reached the Queensland-NSW border. By 1910 they were generally widespread across the southern two-thirds of the continent.

Rabbits live in many different environments, from deserts to coastal plains. They are one of Australia's most destructive pests. They have a variety of impacts, including:

  • reducing the regeneration of native plants, by grazing and ringbarking of saplings
  • competing with native animals for food and shelter
  • damaging historic and cultural sites, through soil erosion caused by overgrazing
  • providing food for other pest animals, such as wild dogs, foxes and feral cats
Rabbits - fact sheet
Get an introduction to this pest animal, and find out about some NPWS rabbit control programs in NSW.

Competition and grazing by the feral European rabbit - key threatening process listing
The NSW Scientific Committee has declared rabbits to be a 'key threatening process' in NSW. See its reasons for making this declaration.
Page last updated: 26 October 2011