In Australia, European rabbits have major impacts on agricultural productivity and the environment. The Threat abatement plan released by the Australian Government Department of the Environment in January 2016 found that rabbits are a significant threat to biodiversity, affecting 304 nationally threatened plant and animal species. Rabbits also impact agricultural productivity by $200 million a year.
In March of 2017, phase one of a 20 year long-term rabbit biocontrol pipeline strategy was implemented with the national release of a Korean strain of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus, known as RHDV1 K5.
This virus was released at more than 350 sites around Australia in March of 2017 and many release sites have reported seeing an observed decline in rabbit numbers on their property.
Preliminary analysis has shown a 42 per cent average reduction in wild rabbit numbers at sites where the new strain was released.
Now researchers are working on developing new approaches to complement existing viral biocontrols’, while investigating new conventional tools which can further boost rabbit control in Australia.
This is a long term strategic approach to rabbit control, however an integrated and multi-pronged approach to rabbit control is always 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.
Rabbit control techniques
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.
RHDV baiting 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:
- Standard Operating Procedures for the bait delivery of the RHDV1 K5 strain.
- RHDV1 K5 product label
- Where to purchase RHDV1 K5
- The release of RHDV1 K5 – March 2017 - To combat the threat of rabbits within Australia, the national release of a Korean strain of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus, known as RHDV1 K5 took place in the first week […]
- 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
- 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 […]
- 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.
- 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 – Enhancing RHDV effectiveness - Research is underway to evaluate alternative RHDV strains and how they could be safely and effectively released in Australia.
RHD Boost Updates
- Issue 16 – 26 September 2017
- Issue 15 – 14 July 2017
- Issue 14 – 19 June 2017
- Issue 13 – 12 May 2017
- Issue 12 – 5 April 2017
- Issue 11 – 1 March 2017
- 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