Virus released in bid to control rabbits
Rabbit populations in the Great Southern could be reduced by more than 40 per cent after the release of a new strain of rabbit virus for the second time in the area.
The Korean Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus, widely known as RHDV1-K5, was first released in Australia in March last year.
The virus is part of a national plan to tackle the huge amount of damage caused by rabbits to the agriculture industry.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has partnered with South Coast NRM to introduce the virus to landowners in the Great Southern.
South Coast NRM land program leader David Broadhurst said together with proper land management, the virus was key to controlling problematic species such as European rabbits.
“They reproduce so quickly and in such numbers they can recover very quickly,” he said.
“It is also critical that we don’t just rely on the virus to control rabbits — other activities such as warren destruction, exclusion fencing, fumigation, shooting and baiting still need to occ-ur.”
The RHDV1-K5 virus has been released at Goode Beach, Two Peoples Bay, the Porongurup, and Stirling Ranges, Wellstead, Denmark and Jerramungup.
Although it is very contagious, the virus will only infect rabbits and will not harm people, cats, dogs or horses.
South Coast NRM, in partnership with DPIRD and Green Skills Albany, will hold an information workshop from 5.30pm on July 26.
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