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Lapin Australie

Two dozen rabbits cause environmental invasion in Australia

© CSIRO / Wikimedia Commons

Currently, wild European rabbits eat pastures and crops in Australia. Also, they reduce the productivity of the grounds and compete with local fauna, says Smithsonian Magazine. These rabbits threaten over 300 species of flora and fauna in the country. Reporter Smriti Mallapatti said Nature News, this rabbit invasion is causing up to $200 million in agricultural damage to the Australian economy. Studies have been conducted on the origin of these rodents.

Origin of these rabbits in Australia

According to a theory put forward by historians, during Christmas 1859, a wealthy English colonist named Thomas Austin received the ship 24. Rabbits Wild and domestic. These rabbits were sent by his brotherEngland. This assumption was published on Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. According to Francis Jiggins, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Cambridge in England, it was this event that caused the current ecological and economic disaster. Australia.

However, this is not the first time European rabbits have been imported to Australia. According to historians, colonists began importing rabbits in 1788. That is, 90 rabbits were brought into the country in the next few years. However, it wasn’t until Austin got these rabbits that the situation got out of hand. Since then, these mammals have reproduced rapidly. In 1865, the owner claimed to have killed 20,000 rabbits to stop the invasion.

Australia rabbit
— JinFujiwara /

Rabbits have changed

Researchers looked at how rabbits were able to reproduce so quickly. So they caught rabbits in Australia, Tasmania and even Europe between 1865 and 2018. Researchers have found that rabbits from Australia have complex genes from both wild and domestic. So these rabbits have similarities with rabbits from England. Examination of their mitochondrial DNA also revealed that these genes were passed on from the mother.

But the imported rabbits were found to carry the wild genes that carried the rabbits. This explains their prosperity. This is because wild rabbits are capable of surviving in the wild and avoiding predators. According to David Peacock, an ecologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia, Austin’s introduction of rabbits does not make him responsible for the invasion. It is actually a species that has learned to evolve and adapt to its new environment.

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