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Norm Walls demonstrates area netting

Norm Walls demonstrates area netting

Photo by: Parks Victoria

Ferreting out the Rabbits at Brimbank Park

Thursday 3 October, 2013

The idea of using ferrets to remove rabbits from sensitive sites was behind an unusual gathering at Brimbank Park last Thursday. A group of Karen boys, originally refugees from Burma, were accompanied by ferreting expert Norm Walls and his ferrets, who demonstrated the best techniques.

Watching the ferreting with great interest were a group of Yorta Yorta people from Shepparton, and some local Wurundjeri people. They have a problem with rabbits burrowing into culturally sensitive sites that can’t be dug up or disturbed by ripping, digging or exploding the warrens.

Norm showed how to use the ferrets to flush out the rabbits into a netted off area. “You don’t need to train a ferret to chase a rabbit,” he said, “But you certainly need to train it to come back out of the hole when it’s called!”

Ranger in Charge at the park, Tim Carver said the day was both very informative and had a special cultural mix. “It began with a welcome to Country by Wurundjeri Elders David Wandin and Ron Jones who provided insights into their culture and connection to the land, and made the Karen boys particularly welcome. It’s not every day that you get to see and learn the techniques for successful ferreting.”

Brimbank Park Ranger Mark Gutterson has run a long and successful campaign on rabbits in the park and is also interested in using ferrets.  “We have lots of cultural sites, particularly along the river banks in the park.  We use a variety of methods on these sensitive areas like fencing off, baiting and fumigating to control rabbits, but using ferrets has no risk to wildlife and is very eco friendly.”

The Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation group are now looking at inviting some of the Werribee team up to their Country to do some trial ferreting on culturally sensitive sites.

Media enquiries

Sally Nowlan

Parks Victoria media centre

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