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Gewählte Master / Diploma Thesis:

Sabine Schaller (2019): Wildkaninchen in Österreich: Ist-Zustand, Bejagung und Aussichten.
Master / Diploma Thesis - Institut für Wildbiologie und Jagdwirtschaft (IWJ), BOKU-Universität für Bodenkultur, pp 65. UB BOKU obvsg

Data Source: ZID Abstracts
The first records of European wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in Austria can be dated to 1673. Around that time, they have been distributed by men to many regions over the world, becoming a favoured species for hunting and food. Most Austrian colonies of wild rabbits can be found in Lower Austria and northern Burgenland. Over the last 30 years a decline in rabbit hunting bags by 80% has been recorded, indicating a major decrease in population. To determine the factors responsible for the decline two surveys were sent to hunters in both provinces. The first survey was sent to areas that reported active populations, the other was sent to areas with populations that had ceased. Factors to be determined in the surveys concerned the habitat of the rabbits, the hunting methods and occurring diseases. The results of the surveys suggest that two viral diseases, Myxomatosis and RHD (rabbit haemorrhagic disease) constitute the main cause for the population decrease. Hunters also consider an increase in the number of predators and changes of the habitat (expansion of settlements/industry, intensified agriculture, lack of cover) as relevant. Several hunting grounds with an active population of rabbits were visited and a habitat mapping was made. Furthermore, for all hunting grounds with rabbits, climate and soil data was collected and analysed. The data indicates that fallow land, copses and hedges are important habitat features, but prospering populations can also be found nearby settlements and industrial areas. All information was gathered into a map showing rabbit distribution in Lower Austria and Burgenland. A comparison of data from current and former populations leads to the conclusion that in the surveyed areas large numbers of European wild rabbit have vanished over the last years.

Beurteilende(r): Hackländer Klaus

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