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Almost two years on from declaring war on the large numbers of rabbits which have plagued its patch, volunteer group Pest Free Pisa Moorings is celebrating victory.

Through sheer dogged determination, consistency and hard work alongside collaboration with community and key partners, the group has eradicated 90% of the Pisa Moorings rabbit population.

The group marked the completion of the next stage of their fight two rabbit-stops (similar to a cow-stop but designed to prevent rabbits crossing) at the community’s entry points on the Lake Dunstan Cycling and Walking Trail, with a small celebration Tuesday.

The rabbit-stops will prevent rabbits from entering the subdivision via the cycle trail, and adds to the war arsenal the group were already using to combat the pest gas, rabbit-proof fencing and digging up burrows.

Central Otago District Mayor Tim Cadogan officially unveiled the sign marking Pisa Moorings as pest free.

“It’s absolutely fantastic to come here today to a community that looked at a problem, saw it as their own, owned it and went to fix it’, and that’s really what it was all about today, that a group said said.

Pest Free Pisa Moorings chairman Ian Kemp said volunteers spent more than 500 hours during the past 18 months combating the pest and the results were better than he ever anticipated.

“When I moved here two years ago we would go for a walk and the whole ground would move with rabbits,” he said.

“It’s been a really, really successful story –  the rabbits had been a real problem but now, the hard work’s done.

“We haven’t finished, we will maintain these for years to come.”

Rabbits were now restricted in how they could enter the settlement and focus would next turn to removing those still within its boundary, he said.

The addition of ferret traps throughout the settlement had also reaped good results, with more than 35 ferrets caught and the unexpected return of nesting kamana, or Australasian crested grebes, to the lakeside community’s inlets.