The LIFE Iberconejo project envisages a series of much-needed actions aimed at tackling a complex reality that will provide a solid, knowledge-based platform for improving the conservation and the management of rabbits in the Iberian Peninsula.
The rabbit is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as “Endangered” given that many of its Iberian populations display negative trends that satisfy the criterion of a rapid population decline of more than 50% between 2008 and 2018.
Aside from its intrinsic value, as a species, the rabbit has an environmental and economic value that should not be underestimated. From an environmental standpoint, its role as an ecosystem engineer must be safeguarded since it affects the composition of plant communities, the soil structure, the populations of various species of invertebrates and small vertebrates, and, furthermore, is a vital prey item for a number of seriously threatened predators. From an economic perspective, the rabbit populations that are hunted must be maintained and, at the same time, overpopulations that occur in various areas of the Iberian Peninsula must be controlled to prevent serious damage to agriculture.
Consequently, a series of ACTIONS have been proposed for the correct and proper management of Iberian rabbit populations.
1. Establish a methodology for monitoring rabbit populations, their health status and the damage they cause to agriculture in the Iberian Peninsula.
2. Train workers to use the methodologies for monitoring rabbit populations, their health status and the damage they cause to agriculture.
3. Set up the European Rabbit Iberian Coordination Committee (ERICC).
4. Exchange experiences and ideas on good practices in the fields of:
5. Analyse the PAC and proposals for improvements including good practices in the management of rabbit populations.
6. Analyse the social perception of the project.
7. Evaluate the ecosystemic and socio-economic impact of rabbit populations.