Foundation for Rabbit Free Australia Inc. manages a public fund to support research, raise awareness and encourage on-ground action to eradicate wild European rabbits from Australia. It is Australia’s only publicly subscribed fund to focus its activities on wild European rabbits and their impacts on the environment and primary production.
The aims of the Foundation are to:
- support research, development and extension, including projects, researchers and research organisations, contributing to the eradication of rabbits in Australia.
- Increase awareness and understanding of the nature and extent of degradation caused by rabbits, the continuing threat they pose to Australia’s economic, environmental and social values, and the need for research into integrated control measures.
- encourage other measures which will contribute to the eradication of rabbits, such as integrated control programs applying current knowledge on the ground.
Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia Inc is a registered not-for-profit charity incorporated in South Australia under the Associations Incorporation Act, SA. The Foundation:
- is registered with ASIC – ABN: 96 353 157 496.
- is exempt from income tax payments as a charitable institution.
- has Deductible Gift Recipient status – donations are tax-deductible.
- Postal: PO Box 145, Collinswood, SA 5081. Australia
- Email: Contact Us
For more information see the Foundation’s Strategic Plan.
Foundation for Rabbit Free Australia Inc (RFA) was originally established as the Anti-Rabbit Research Foundation of Australia (ARRFA). A committee was formed in 1991 to develop the concept and the Foundation was incorporated in July 1992.
In 1992, Western Mining Corporation contributed $150,000 as seed funding and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency’s Feral Pest Program provided $30,000 to employ a part-time executive officer. In 1995 WMC committed a further $150,000 over three years. These early investments were critical in enabling the Foundation to get itself up and running. Early projects included:
- A highly successful national conference in 1993, opened by The Honourable Bill Hayden, Patron of ARRFA and Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.
- Registration of the Easter Bilby trade-mark, following a contested legal objection from the Confectionary Manufacturers of Australia.
- Liaison with chocolate manufacturers, such as long term supporter Haigh’s Chocolates with their licenced Easter Bilby range.
- Supporting Kaye Kessing and Ali Garnett’s ‘Easter Bilby’ children’s book, including a multi-state tour of an associated children’s pantomime, building understanding and acceptance of Easter Bilby and why Australia needed a new icon for easter.
The name of the Foundation was changed from Anti-Rabbit Research Foundation of Australia to Foundation for Rabbit Free Australia in 1998 to overcome the misleading connotations of being anti-research, that were conjured by the original name.
Besides supporting countless research projects, the Foundation has been a catalyst or facilitator to numerous national events and programs through cash and in-kind support. Examples include:
- Facilitating the maintenance of breeding programs for Spanish rabbit fleas in Queensland, NSW and SA following their successful release in 1993.
- Supporting the trials of RHD (rabbit calicivirus) on Wardang Island in 1995 and being a major voice for the registration of the virus as a biological control.
- Liaising with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) to convene a national workshop in 2005, resulting in a strategy for research investment by the grazing industries, the formation of a Rabbit Management Advisory Group, and the joint investment of $1.5 million by AWI and MLA.
For more information on the history of the Foundation, download Foundation History.
For more information on past and current activities of the Foundation, see Our Projects.
Easter Bilby champions the cause of native plants and animals, reclaiming the Australian bush from European wild rabbits. The Easter Bilby’s message is, ‘it’s us or them’ – rabbits must be removed so the original inhabitants can survive. Bilbies want their burrows, their food and their friends back.
The Easter Bilby campaign slogan, ‘Bilbies not bunnies’, is for all the displaced and threatened plants and animals. It is a brave and bold effort that can only succeed with help from humans. Without our intervention to control rabbits, the plight of bilbies and other native species will never improve.
The Foundation is the registered holder of the ‘Easter Bilby’ trade-mark, and is pleased to work with chocolate manufacturers and story-tellers to promote Easter Bilby’s message and the rabbit control cause. Download the Easter Bilby fact sheet for information about bilbies and the Easter Bilby’s story.