We are currently helping to co-ordinate a local K5 (calicivuris) release in the Katanning area, along with Wagin Woodanilling Landcare Zone, through the support of South Coast NRM in the hopes of reducing rabbit numbers! There will be releases of the virus across the Great Southern happening before Christmas, with locations in Katanning, Broomehill, Woodanilling, Kojonup, Wagin and Cranbrook confirmed.
The virus is spread by insects, as well as direct contact between rabbits and an infected carcass. Now should be the ideal time to see a decent knock down and we hope for a reduction in the local bunny population.
We do, though, understand that the virus is not a silver bullet and to keep numbers down, slow the pace of re-population and maximise the benefits of pest control, that a combined effort is essential. Integrated control is very important and we promote the use of conventional control methods, as well as poisoning, warren ripping and fumigation to remove all remaining rabbits, especially those harbouring in warrens.
Did you know? Rabbits are estimated to cost over $200 million in Agricultural production loss every year. Not to mention the huge impacts they have on our environment and our fragile ecological communities!
If you have a domestic pet bunny, please ensure that its vaccinations are up to date to protect it from the calicivirus. Even a pet kept indoors will be susceptible to this disease due to it being highly spreadable by a number of factors.
Please contact your local vet ASAP and check up on the status of your rabbit’s vaccinations.
There are no known cross-species infections, so only pet rabbits are at risk of infection. Please see this post from New Zealand where they have had a successful release recently: http://www.ruralnewsgroup.co.nz/item/12909-rabbit-virus-killing-them-in-aussie
If you want to know more about the virus or the release, get in touch with us on 9821 4327.
(With thanks to the WWLZ team for the great title and post content!)
Author: Andrea Salmond
Andrea has been with Katanning Landcare since 2013 and is passionate about equipping people with the tools, skills and resources they need to make positive changes to our environment.