In a remote corner of the northern Queensland desert, the Tren Ruralo Project is building a small town with a small population and a strong urban identity.
The project is being run by the Terengganu Regional Council (TRRC), the Australian National University and a local business, Red Urban.
The Tren project will see residents and businesses move into the community, including the Red Urban Rabbit Project, which will help the project’s residents feed and care for rabbits, and provide them with access to clean water.
“We’re trying to make sure that it’s a sustainable community and we’re trying really hard to make it a very clean environment, so that the rabbit population can thrive and it can live here and that’s what the rabbit is looking for,” said Tracey Wicks, Tren’s community engagement and community engagement manager.
“That’s the reason why we’re here in the first place, to provide a safe environment for the rabbits, to give them a place to be and to be able to enjoy the food and drink that we’ve been able to put in place.”
The project has already been in the works for several years.
The community is one of the smallest in Australia, and is only one kilometre from the nearest urban settlement, the Red Rock National Park.
“They’re not normally a big rabbit population, they’re very shy, they’ll sit in the bushes or in the bush,” Ms Wicks said.
“But now that they’ve been introduced to a bit more human activity and we’ve had the Tretnggana project we’re seeing them become quite active in the community.”
For Ms Wickers, the rabbits are an essential part of the community.
“The rabbits are essential to the community,” she said.”[They’re] very important to our local food supply and to our small farmers and their livelihoods.”
I’m very excited to see how this community will respond and we’ll be monitoring them very closely to make them aware of the changes that are being made here and what their rights are.
“The Rabbit Project will be funded by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Australian Environment Protection Authority.
The Rabbit Conservation Authority is assisting the project with monitoring and managing the rabbits.