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Rabbits in Australia

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Rabbits in Australia

Introduction

Coevolution is a natural phenomenon that has affected all habitats throughout the world. In general, it encompasses the interactions among different species within a general population and the adaptations each species makes to survive in such a diverse environment. The mere presence of all species that are currently in existence is proof that those species have adapted over thousands and millions of years in such a way that allows them to survive and reproduce.

Through millions of years of evolution, well-balanced habitats have co-evolved to provide for the wide variety of species and their needs. Trees have adapted to weeds, weeds have adapted to the predation from herbivores, and so on up the food chain. Similar scenarios are seen throughout the world. Through the process of natural selection, specific species or broad species families will go extinct. However, these occurrences have largely been due to the natural flow and evolution of time. It wasn’t until recently that dominant species, such as humans, have taken the course of nature into their own hands.

Throughout history, humans have had an increasingly profound impact on the areas in which they inhabit. Human population has increased in a slow yet exponential pattern since their evolution. These growing populations, along with species evolution have directed humans such that they have domesticated themselves and the things around them in ways that are both functionally and aesthetically pleasing. Plant species were transformed into useful crops, wild animals were converted to willing (and sometimes not so willing) companions, animals were hunted for food and for sport, and man's surroundings were modified as were seen fit. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As the environment has become modified, harmful consequences have resulted causing many of the natural coevolutionary processes to fall out of balance.

Slowly, the disruption of these delicate balances are taking their toll on the native habitats and transforming small temporary changes into permanent problems. The area of environmental modification that will be emphasized in this paper is the introduction of non-native species to new habitats and the resulting effects on that habitat; specifically, the introduction of the European Rabbit to Australia.

History of rabbit origin in Australia

It all started in 1859. Australia was slowly becoming populated with European pioneers who sought the newness of the great, unsettled continent. However, there were a few things from home from which they just couldn’t part.
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