Recent trends in the Rabbit population in Britain.
Comparatively little objective information on the long-term changes in Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) population levels has been published during the 30 years since myxomatosis became endemic (Lloyd, 1970; Tittensor, 1981; Tittensor & Tittensor, 1985). The literature includes a reference to increased rabbit numbers in the late 1950's, soon after the banning in 1958 of the use of an estimated three and a half million gin traps (Lloyd, 1970). Lloyd & Walton (1969) described a series of surveys in west Wales between 1961-1967 to monitor the recolonization and stability of Rabbit populations. Consistently about 40% of farms inspected had Rabbits, with about one-third of the farms changing status between years (80% having rabbits at some time during the study). By the mid 1960's there were reports that in some areas of England Rabbits were locally reaching pre-myxomatosis numbers, whilst in others they had scarcely reappeared (Thompson & Thompson, 1966).
The aim of this paper is to collate and interpret the information provided by surveys from five organizations and to present an objective and up-to-date view of the recent trends in the Rabbit population in different parts of Britain.