Virus immunity in young rabbits

CSIRO funded researchers have discovered why young rabbits are immune to RHDV1, but not RHDV2. It seems that young rabbits have a naturally heightened immune system, but RHDV2 is able to shut down the elevated immune state – whereas RHDV1 is not. For more information, see the Research Updates in Feral Flyer Issue 350 (the […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

K5 taking hold in NZ

The RHDV1 K5 virus is beginning to take hold in the Otago region of New Zealand. Landholders are urged to take advantage and follow-up with secondary controls. For more information, see the article in The Country, NZ Herald. Photo: Otago Daily Times

Rabbits – Criminals of the animal world.

Rabbits and foxes are ‘criminals of the animal world’ due to their impact on native plants and animals, according to park authorities in the Australian Capital Territory. Parks and Conservation (ACT) spend over $150,000 a year on rabbit control and are hopeful that RHDV-K5 will be active this autumn and winter. For more information, see […]