Southlanders have jumped at the chance to rid Invercargill's Eastern Cemetery of some grave-dwelling critters.

For years the cemetery has provided "favourable breeding conditions" where "burrows can be established easily and with minimal disturbance", an Invercargill City Council spokeswoman said.

News of a night shoot to cull the rabbit population was met with a "Kiwi can-do attitude" response, the council newsletter read.

"We have been inundated with calls from the public offering assistance in the night-shooting operation."


While the council appreciated the offers, health and safety reasons meant it had to decline them.

"Our contractors are trained operators in this area, are fully qualified to carry out this work on behalf of the council, and have specific health and safety procedures in place for their careful planning of the operation.

"While we're sure there are plenty of keen Southland hunters who could also do a great job, our first and foremost consideration must be the safety of those carrying out the work," the spokeswoman said.

Before the shoot, which was carried out on Thursday night, 618 rabbits had been shot in monthly shoots since 2017.

The poison Magtoxin was dropped following the shoot.

The Environment Southland Pest Strategy places an onus on landowners to actively manage pest animals.

- Sharon Reece