Help boost Australia’s rabbit biocontrol action

5 November 2015

Wildlife researchers are urging all Australians to help monitor rabbit numbers during the proposed 2016-2017 release of a Korean strain of the Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus, known as RHDV1 K5, which aims to boost the effectiveness of the current RHDV1 strain released in 1996.

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.

Andreas Glanznig, CEO of the Invasive Animals CRC said that this research is an important national collaborative project between multiple government and industry partners across Australia funded through the Invasive Animals CRC to deal with Australia’s most costly vertebrate pest animal.

“We are asking all Australian’s to get involved and help us monitor rabbit numbers, you can take part by nominating to be a monitoring and/or release site. You can also get involved by downloading the free RabbitScan App to your phone and map rabbit sightings, helping us better understand where rabbits are.

“The more people who are involved across Australia, the more our ability to monitor rabbits and deliver effective pest management across the country will improve – we need your help.

“Rabbits don’t stop at fence lines and we need landholders, Landcare groups and councils alike to take a coordinated community-led approach to assist in monitoring the effectiveness of our management methods.

“An integrated approach is crucial – K5 is not a silver bullet. The data collected by the community will be used to provide advice for land managers and farmers on the effectiveness of their management programs and best practice approaches for future management methods,” Mr Glanznig said.

Indicating they would like to participate in the project, the Surf Coast Shire Council, Victoria has received responses from more than 30 landholders who have expressed an interest as rabbit monitoring sites.

One of these landholders and shire councillors, Heather Wellington, said she hears on a daily basis from her constituency the need to improve rabbit management strategies due to the damage they are causing, not only to the environment but also to agriculture and our farmers livelihoods.

“Rabbit management in our shire has always been a challenge and we welcome research into any new tools in development.

“We also feel it is our responsibility as a council to facilitate community-led action and we have already had a lot of interest from Landcare groups and landholders in our area to do this.”

The Invasive Animals CRC are still accepting expressions of interests from communities around Australia to nominate to become release or monitoring sites. They will notify applicants later in the year as to their suitability of being a release sites.

Find out more via www.pestsmart.org.au/get-involved-as-a-monitoring-site.


Media contact:

Ian McDonald, Communications Manager, Invasive Animals CRC,
M: 0429 985 643 | E: ian.mcdonald@invasiveanimals.com

The ‘RHD Boost’ research initiative has been delivered through the Invasive Animals CRC, with major financial and in kind resources provided by the Australian government, state governments, and industry and non-government organisations. The partners in this national collaborative project include: 

  • Federal Department of Agriculture
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries
  • CSIRO
  • Australian Wool Innovation
  • Meat and Livestock Australia
  • Foundation for Rabbit Free Australia
  • Victoria Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
  • Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA
  • Department of Agriculture and Food WA
  • University of Adelaide
  • Department of Agriculture and Food Queensland
  • ACT Government Environment and Planning
  • ACT Government Territory and Municipal Services
  • Parks Victoria

For more information please visit – www.pestsmart.org.au/boosting-rabbit-biocontrol-rhdv-k5-national-release/