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Stretching from north to south across Western Australia, dividing the entire continent into two unequal parts, is a flimsy barbed-wire fence that runs for a total length of 3,256 km. The fence was erected in the early 1900s to keep wild rabbits out of farm lands on the western side of the continent. Today, the Rabbit Proof fence, now called the State Barrier Fence, stands as a barrier to entry against all invasive species such as dingoes, kangaroos and emus, which damage crops, as well as wild dogs which attack livestock.

Rabbits were first introduced in Australia in 1788 for their meat, and originally bred in rabbit farms and enclosures, until one October morning in 1859, when an English settler by the name of Thomas Austin released twenty-four wild rabbits on his property so that his guest could entertain themselves by hunting. At that time he had stated that "the introduction of a few rabbits could do little harm and might provide a touch of home, in addition to a spot of hunting."


Photo credit: matt pounsett/Flickr

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