Killing wild rabbits conserves native mammals

Ecological modellers have shown how reducing wild rabbit numbers helps maintain small native mammals. Benefits for small mammals occur when 30-40% of rabbits are removed through a mix of biological and physical controls. Higher rates of rabbit removal can lead to a decline in small mammals in the short term, but with subsequent long term […]

How to monitor Bilbies

The Martu people of the western deserts are involved in developing a bilby monitoring program, combining traditional knowledge and scientific techniques. Robust monitoring is critical to the evaluation of different management strategies, such as burning practices and the control of cats, foxes and rabbits. For more information on the project, see the Threatened Species Recovery […]

Synergistic disease dynamics

Combing 17 years of field data on wild rabbit mortality and a model of rabbit populations has provided researchers with insight to the interactions between rabbit diseases – concluding that rabbits that have survived myxomatosis are more vulnerable to RHDV than those not previously infected by myxo. The researchers suggest several factors that may influence […]

Gene drive questions

Gene drive technology (a way to spread a specific gene through a species) may have potential for feral animal control (especially in isolated pest populations), but non-technical questions are also being raised. For more information, see the ABC News article – ‘Feral science or feral solution‘.

Disease synergies aid rabbit control

Exposure of rabbits to the myxoma virus renders them less likely to survive RHDV, according to a soon to be published research paper. The research, led by Louise Barnett and assisted by RFA, shows that a combination of biological controls can have more impact than the sum of individual controls on their own. For more […]

Compassionate conservation fails to conserve

An article by Peter Fleming concludes that ‘compassionate conservation’ (an approach focused on the ‘well-being of individual wild animals’) has the capacity to do harm to the cause of conservation in Australia and elsewhere. Referring to the damage rabbits cause to natural ecosystems, and hence the suffering caused to other animals, Peter argues that individuals […]

Is the future fenced?

An article by Michael Bode highlights the importance of fox and cat control for fauna conservation,and muses about how good it would be if methods other than fencing could achieve that. Rabbits must also be considered – as competitors and habitat destroyers – for fauna conservation. The biological control of rabbits has benefited whole landscapes, […]

RHDV2 reduces wild rabbit numbers

Following the arrival of RHDV2, European wild rabbit numbers dropped to around 20% of the average over the preceding ten years, according to recently published survey data. The results come from two long-term monitoring sites in South Australia, in the Flinders Ranges and at Turretfield. If the two sites are representative of other areas and […]

Less rabbit baiting following RHDV

The use of poisoned oats to control wild rabbits has decreased in South Australia, following the introduction of RHDV. After RHDV spread through SA in the late 1990s rabbit numbers were reduced so much that the average demand for poison decreased by about 60-70%, and a similar picture has emerged following the arrival of RHDV2. […]

Turretfield comes up trumps

‘Rabbit histories’, tracking the mortality of over 4,000 rabbits, are now available from a long-term monitoring site at Turretfield Research Centre in South Australia. For twenty years, rabbit populations on the property have been routinely estimated and sampled, providing data that is proving useful on many fronts.Blood and tissue samples provide evidence of the incidence […]