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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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
Please read and follow the sampling instructions documents.
How to take advantage of rabbit biocontrol in your local area
RHD Boost Updates
- 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
- Rabbit biocontrol in Australia: key facts - Key facts about the history of rabbits and rabbit biocontrol in Australia
- RHDV1 K5: Frequently asked questions - All your key questions about RHD Boost and the proposed release of the new RHDV K5 strain answered.
- 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 […]
- 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
- 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.
- Help boost Australia’s rabbit biocontrol action - Landholders, farmers, community groups, councils and everyone across the country has been invited to express their interest to participate in the final stages of the research to support the release of K5.
- Innovative app to track rabbit control - A new function to boost the power of the popular RabbitScan app has given the community the ability to track the spread of rabbit biocontrol agents and viruses from their […]
- 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.
- RabbitScan – an essential part of the Rabbit Management Toolbox - RabbitScan is helping the Bellarine community to map rabbit warrens and hotspots of activity
- Federal Parliament passes Amendment to biological control legislation - There is now certainty around the use of viruses in controlling pests, such as the European Rabbit and Carp, after an Amendment to the Biological Control Act 1984 was unanimously […]
- Wildlife research highlights need for long-term rabbit biocontrol strategy - A number of Australian threatened small mammals making a comeback in the South Australian desert due to ongoing rabbit management, including biocontrol.
- Genetic resistance, immunity and transmission of rabbit biocontrol - Video about genetic resistance, immunity and transmission associated with rabbit biological control in Australia
- Victorian Rabbit Management Collaboration Initiative - Supports community-led action for more sustainable and effective rabbit management in Victoria
- RHD-Boost. Import and evaluate new rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) variants to strengthen rabbit biocontrol - The RHD Boost project sought to identify new RHDV variants with superior lethality to rabbits with partial protection from endemic Australian Rabbit Calicivirus (RCV-A1) and immunity and/or genetic resistance to […]
- Benefits of Rabbit Biocontrol in Australia - EUROPEAN RABBITS (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are a severe continental-scale threat to Australia’s globally important biodiversity and agriculture. The extreme sensitivity of many native plant species to rabbit damage – as few […]