The temperatures have been on the rise across the region and so too its seems are rabbit numbers.

As Hawke's Bay Regional Council animal pest control team leader Allan Beer pointed out, there is a strong link between the weather and the fields of bouncing bunnies.

"When the summer is hot and dry the rabbits love it," he said.

It was effectively fine breeding weather, and numbers had risen across rural, semi-rural and semi-urban areas — like Westshore and Bayview.


Through social media sites walkers and cyclists using the Westshore to Bay View pathways had noted the clear increase in numbers.

"Six weeks ago I counted nine rabbits on the Bay View-Westshore pathway — this evening 30 — next month 300?" one pathway regular posted.

While 300 may be a little high, there was a likelihood the numbers could grow higher, Beer said, adding there were several rabbit-prone areas around the region.

"It is not the first time (seeing a rise in numbers) - we have seen it before."

Beer said the rabbit densities in some areas were the highest they had seen for a long time and when it came to controlling the numbers there was really nothing authorities could do in places like Westshore and Bay View.

Poisoning and shooting could not be carried out in close to urban areas.

They were a nuisance rather than a pest in those places, Beer said.

People walking dogs early in the morning or around dusk needed to keep an eye on their charges as they would generally bolt off after a rabbit.


Beer said they became an issue in rural areas like orchards where they created problems through burrowing and chewing the bark of fruit trees to get at the sap.

"But here, there's really nothing you can do about them."

He said one cold winter would do the trick though as rabbits could not handle excessive cold and had a high mortality rate.

There had been hopes an RHD rabbit virus strain released across the country last year would have caused a fall in numbers in rural areas but that had not been seen yet.

Westshore Holiday Park owner Martin Dilger said while he had not noticed a huge influx of rabbits into the area, there had definitely been an increase.

He reckoned one reason could be the changes made to the wetlands "across the road".

"All the rabbits used to be over there under the bushes — but then they took the dirt and the trees away and now it's all water — they lost their homes on the other side so now they've come over here."

Beer said the council had been receiving plenty of calls about rabbits and in semi-rural areas like lifestyle blocks staff were on hold to check the situation and advise the landowners what they could do.

But in semi-urban areas the rabbits pretty well ruled the roost.