Modelling virus transmission

Modelling virus transmission in a population is nothing new for researchers assisted be Rabbit-Free Australia in their work on wild rabbits. Similar models are also used by ecologists exploring predator/prey relationships. As the world responds to COVID-19, ecologists Charley Krebs and Judy Meyers have penned a ‘blog’ on some of the challenges of modelling complex […]

Plans to register RHDV2 for controlled release.

The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS) hopes to register RHDV2 as a biological rabbit control by 2023. The form of rabbit calicivirus appeared in Australia from overseas in 2015, just ahead of the controlled release of calicivirus RHDV1-K5 in 2017. Since then, RHDV2 has been responsible for the death of nearly half the rabbits […]

Rabbit ancestry may influence susceptibility to disease.

Wild rabbits in Australia lie in six genetic clusters, most likely reflecting different sources of introduction. It raises the question of whether their differing genetics influences their susceptibility to infection by diseases such as RHDV. In work funded by RabbitFree Australia, Dr Amy Iannella did some investigating; discovering that of 135 resistance genes tested, only […]

Rabbit hotspots – located by a new model of rabbit populations

Spotlight counts of rabbits from 116 sites across Australia, taken over 41 years, have enabled modellers to better understand what makes a ‘rabbit hotspot’ – places of high rabbit persistence. These areas are high priorities for well-timed eradication programs. The research team was able to use the survey data to test a new model of […]

Public engagement essential for invasive animal control

A mix of recent stories from New Zealand highlight the importance of controlling invasive species for the benefit of native plants and animals – and the importance of public engagement as part of the solution. An article in the NZ Herald begins by asking if there is any solution to the devastating problem of rabbits. […]

Culling overabundant wildlife vs the alternatives

‘If overabundant wildlife populations are not reduced by some means, the result must be death by starvation or disease coupled with extensive damage to other species in these ecosystems,’ say ecologists Charley Krebs and Judy Myers. The killing of animals is abhorrent to many people, but alternative controls (e.g. capture and relocation or sterilisation) or […]

‘Gene drive’ for mammals

‘Gene drive’ technology (where genome editing increases the likelihood of certain traits being inherited) has now been applied to mammals. Previously trialled on insects, the technology was used to control the colour of mice in trials at UC San Diego, USA. Gene drive technology is being explored as a potential breakthrough in the control of […]

Award Winning K5 in the News

The RHDV1-K5 team from the Centre for Invasive Species (CISS) has won a National Biosecurity Award for work in the 2017 release and monitoring of the rabbit control virus. When accepting the Award, the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions noted it was a strong cooperative endeavour between the Australian Government, NSW Department of Primary Industries, […]

Coorong dunes recover thanks to rabbit controls

Successive biological controls for rabbits have been the most important factor in the recovery of sand dunes along the Coorong in South Australia. Researchers from Flinders University have recorded peaks in vegetation regrowth and dune stabilisation coinciding with various biological controls, ranging from myxomatosis (1952) and the rabbit flea (1968), to RHDV (in 1995 and […]

Resurgent RHDV K5?

Low rabbit numbers on an Eyre Peninsula property may be due to an increase in RHDV K5 during cooler months – a result anticipated by Natural Resources Officer, Ben Tucker, who coordinated the local release of the virus at trial sites last year. For more information, see the November, 2018 Stock Journal article.