Boosting rabbit biocontrol: RHDV K5 national release

Australian governments and industry have joined forces in a global search for a new rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) strain to boost rabbit biocontrol effectiveness in Australia. The search and evaluation has led to a naturally occurring RHDV variant from Korea (RHDV K5) being selected. It is currently under assessment by government regulators. The national release will be coordinated by the Invasive Plants and Animals Committee in consultation with Australian Wool Innovation and Meat and Livestock Australia.

Cover of the information guide for the rollout of RHDV1 K5 in Australia

Get involved

Nearly 1000 landholders and community groups from around Australia have registered to be involved in the national release of an additional strain of RHDV (Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus) called RHDV1 K5. Proposed for 2017, it will be the first time in more than 20 years a new rabbit biocontrol will be released, and it is receiving strong community support.

In preparation for the release, landholders and the community are being asked to lend a hand in developing baseline information about rabbit populations before the release, and in reporting any evidence of disease-affected rabbits in their local area.

You can get involved in two ways:

  1. Record rabbit activity in your local area in August or September in RabbitScan, preferably after completing a walked or driven spotlight count of rabbit numbers.
  2. Report any evidence of rabbit disease in your local area, such as dead rabbits and rabbits with symptoms of RHD or Myxomatosis, and/or submit tissue samples if you can. 

The information you report will be posted live on the RabbitScan Biocontrol Tracker website.

Your involvement will help to support the national release of RHDV1 K5.

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More information

Project partners

Organisations involved in the national release of the new rabbit virus RHDV K5
Organisations involved in the national release of the new rabbit virus RHDV K5: Invasive Animals CRC, Australian Wool Innovation, Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Meat and Livestock Australia, Australian Government Cooperative Research Centres Programme, VIC Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, CSIRO, and Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.