To combat the threat of rabbits within Australia, the national release of a Korean strain of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus, known as RHDV1 K5 is planned to take place during the first week of March, 2017.
This is the first time in 20 years that a new rabbit biocontrol agent is being released into Australia, however RHDV1 K5 is not a new virus; it is a strain of the existing virus already widespread in Australia, commonly known as calicivirus.
More than 600 sites across Australia are involved in the release of RHDV1 K5 and are working closely with Biosecurity Officers in their
regions to ensure the best management outcomes.
Preparing for the release of RHDV1 K5
In preparation for the release, landholders and the community are being asked to lend a hand in developing information about rabbit populations before the release, and in reporting any evidence of disease-affected rabbits in their local area.
How to lay RHDV baits on your site
The below video gives you information regarding the best practice techniques in how to achieve the best uptake of RHDV laced baits on your site.
It is also recommended to view the:
How to report dead rabbits or evidence of disease?
If you have found a dead rabbit or evidence of rabbit disease in your local area go to the RabbitScan Biocontrol Tracker, or submit a tissue/bone sample for testing.
How to submit a rabbit tissue or bone sample for testing
Once you have submitted your evidence of rabbit disease to the RabbitScan Biocontrol Tracker, it will give you the option of providing us with a tissue sample for further analysis.
If you select yes, you will be required to freeze the rabbit while an analysis kit is being mailed to you. Please read and follow the
sampling instructions documents when the kit arrives.
Undertaking fly trapping (optional extra)
If you would like to collect additional information during the release, you are welcome to collect flies. This is entirely optional. Flies (bush flies and blow flies) are known vectors of RHDV. We know that there is enough virus in one fly spot to infect and kill a rabbit. To help us understand which RHDVs are already circulating in your area and whether the flies actually pick up RHDV1 K5, collecting flies over the course of the release is an additional activity you can undertake.
Conventional rabbit control techniques
An integrated and multi-pronged approach to rabbit control is recommended to achieve the best outcome from your management
program. Below are some further examples of control measures you can undertake to enhance rabbit population reductions in your area.
Poison baiting for rabbit control
This is a general video only. Please check with your local authority on any restrictions and requirements regarding the use of 1080 and Pindone in your area.
Rabbit warren fumigation
Fumigation should be undertaken where warrens cannot be ripped, or used as a follow-up tool to treat any re-openings that occur
after ripping. Fumigation on its own is not enough to manage a rabbit population.
Rabbit warren ripping and harbour destruction
Warren ripping should be undertaken when rabbit numbers are at their lowest. For the majority of Australia this is late summer. If
rabbit numbers are high, then a baiting program should be undertaken before any ripping.
- What is RHD Boost? - RHD Boost is a national project involving the roll out of a new naturally occurring overseas strain of rabbit calicivirus called RHD K5
- Rollout of RHDV1 K5 in Australia: information guide - This booklet provides information on rabbit biocontrol in Australia and the RHD Boost project. It outlines how to get involved in the proposed release of RHDV1 K5 and where you can get further information.
- Rabbit biocontrol in Australia: key facts - Key facts about the history of rabbits and rabbit biocontrol in Australia
- RHDV1 K5: Frequently asked questions (FAQ) - All your key questions about RHD Boost and the proposed release of the new RHDV K5 strain answered.
- RHDV1 K5: What about my pet rabbit? - The currently registered vaccine is likely to continue to protect pet rabbits against this disease after release of K5
- How to report rabbit numbers, disease and dead rabbits - In preparation for the release of RHDV1 K5, landholders and the community are being asked to lend a hand in developing baseline information about rabbit populations before the release, and […]
- RHD Boost – Enhancing RHDV effectiveness - Research is underway to evaluate alternative RHDV strains and how they could be safely and effectively released in Australia.
- Factsheet: RHDV-2 in Australia and implications for current rabbit biocontrol initiatives - Researchers have discovered several different strains or variants of RHDV, but not all have the same effect on wild rabbits in Australia.
RHD Boost Updates
- Issue 10 – 14 February 2017
- Issue 9 – 13 December 2016
- Issue 8 – 1 November 2016
- Issue 7 – 5 August 2016
- Issue 6 – 7 July 2016
- Issue 5 – 4 May 2016
- Issue 4 – 22 March 2016
- Issue 3 – 18 February 2016
- Issue 2 – 14 January 2016
- Issue 1 – 19 November 2015