Rabbits reduce albatross breeding success

Long term monitoring on Macquarie Island has shown that when rabbit populations were high the probability of albatross breeding dropped by one to two thirds. The studies also revealed a web of interactions between cats, rabbits, vegetation and albatrosses. Data collected between 1995 and 2014 showed that rabbit numbers increased when feral cats were removed […]

Blowflies tracking calicivirus

Blowflies are looking increasingly promising as an additional way to monitor the extent of calicivirus across Australia. A team led by Robyn Hall (CSIRO) have published the findings of research comparing the detection of RHDV in samples from flies with samples from dead rabbits, concluding that there was a good correlation between the two techniques; […]

Long term benefits from rabbit control.

The long term benefits of rabbit control are likely to outweigh the short term costs for native species affected by ‘prey-switching’, is the conclusion of a recent New Zealand study. The research examined the effects of rabbit control on ferrets (an invasive predator) and alternative prey species. It found that after rabbits were controlled, ferret […]

Tassie Devils help Bandicoots.

Bandicoots flourish in the presence of Tasmanian Devils, apparently because the Devils suppress feral cats that otherwise prey on the native mammals, according to a recent study by Calum Cunningham of the University of Tasmania. The research found 58% fewer cats in areas with healthy devil populations compared to places where devils had declined; and […]

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 […]

RFA Sub-committees

At a recent meeting the RFA Committee resolved to consider forming two sub-committees in the new year: one focused on research and one on communications, the two most important facets of the Foundation’s work. Although yet to be finalised, their roles are likely to include: Research: Oversee an annual call for projects, liaise with the […]

Bilby recovery news

The national Bilby Recovery Plan is under review, and new research may help re-introductions in southern Australia. The Bilby was adopted as a mascot by RFA to highlight the impact of rabbits on native wildlife and vegetation. According to the draft Recovery Plan for the Greater Bilby; ‘Bilby distribution is associated with an absence or […]

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 […]

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 […]