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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Is habitat management an effective tool for wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) population reinforcement?

Published source details

Catalán I., Rodríguez-Hidalgo P. & Tortosa F.S. (2008) Is habitat management an effective tool for wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) population reinforcement? European Journal of Wildlife Research, 54, 449-453


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Provide artificial refuges/breeding sites Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A controlled study in 2005–2007 in an open forest and scrubland site in Córdoba province, Spain (Catalán et al. 2008) found that a plot with artificial warrens, water provision and fencing to excluding ungulate herbivores had more European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus than did a plot without these interventions. The three interventions were all carried out in the same plot, so their relative effects could not be determined. Average rabbit pellet counts were higher in the plot where the interventions were deployed (first year: 0.33 pellets/m2/day; second year: 1.08 pellets/m2/day) than in the plot without these interventions (first year: 0.02 pellets/m2/day; second year: 0.03 pellets/m2/day). A 2-ha plot was fenced to exclude ungulates in March 2005. Rabbits and predators could pass through the fence. Five artificial warrens were installed and water was provided at one place. No interventions were deployed in a second, otherwise similar, plot. Rabbit density was determined by monthly counts of pellets, from March 2005 to March 2007, in 0.5-m2 circles, every 100 m, along a 1-km transect in each plot.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Exclude livestock from semi-natural habitat (including woodland) Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A controlled study in 2005–2007 in open forest and scrubland at a site in Córdoba province, Spain (Catalán et al. 2008) found more European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus in a plot that was fenced to exclude large herbivores and with artificial warrens and water provided, than in an unmanaged area. Interventions were all carried out in the same plot, so their relative effects could not be separated. Average rabbit pellet counts were higher in the plot where the interventions were deployed (first year: 0.33 pellets/m2/day; second year: 1.08 pellets/m2/day) than in the unmanaged plot (first year: 0.02 pellets/m2/day; second year: 0.03 pellets/m2/day). A 2-ha plot was fenced to exclude large herbivores in March 2005. Rabbits and predators could pass through the fence. Five artificial warrens were installed and water was provided at one place. No management was carried out in an otherwise similar plot. Rabbit density was determined by monthly counts of pellets, from March 2005 to March 2007, in 0.5-m2 circles every 100 m along a 1-km transect in each plot.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)