Rabbit counts will be conducted at night using a thermal telescope. Due to the safety issues that arise from operating on steep and rugged terrain at night we will be using mostly static counts. The thermal telescopes enable accurate counting over areas up to 5 -6 hectare from the point of observation and can record digital video footage that can be transferred to laptops and be accurately counted after the footage is taken. Comparisons will be done with traditional spotlights to test our approach. Count locations will include a mix of light, moderate and heavy infestations. The objective will be to get a comparative measure so we can assess if our control is having an impact. We will GPS map the static point counts which will enable calculation of population density by count location and also a total average. We will also employ game cameras in heavily infested areas as another comparative measure.
Monitoring will occur at regular intervals and after every major control pulse. Data will be recorded and graphed for reporting purposes.
The table below is an example of the data capture:
|Joe Bloggs no 2 Farm||Weather : Fine, dry light winds|
|Site||time||Rabbit count||Surface area||Rabbits/hectare|
|Site 1||9:21||50||1.20 ha||41.66|
|Site 2||9:38||42||4.10 ha||10.24|
|Site 3||9:51||48||3.49 ha||13.75|
|Site 4||10:09||75||2.60 ha||28.84|
|Site 5||10:19||23||.42 ha||54.76|
|Overall mean/hectare Joe Bloggs no 2 farm||29.85|
Information shared by Pukaha Rabbit Alliance Programme Lead Bevan (Harry) Harris