New rabbit calici virus strain information sessions

Three free information sessions to provide detailed information to local land managers about the upcoming release of a new strain of rabbit calici virus, are being held at Euroa on January 19 and at Mansfield and Yea on January 20.

The new Korean strain of the Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus, known as RHDV1 K5, aims to boost the effectiveness of the current RHDV1 strain released in 1996.

Presenters will include NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Research Scientist Dr Tarnya Cox and Department Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) Biosecurity Manager for Established Invasive Animals, John Matthews.

DEDJTR Leading Biosecurity Officer Greg Wood said for the release of virus to reach its full potential, land managers need to be alert, organised and well informed.

“The information sessions will explain how landholders can become involved in the release and how to improve any advantage that RHDV K5 may provide in impacting rabbit populations,” Mr Wood said.

“The K5 strain will not kill every last rabbit in the environment but rather boost the impacts of biological control agents that are already in the environment.”

Mr Wood said the release will be most effective if it is coordinated and supported with integrated rabbit management techniques, therefore land managers are encouraged to take advantage and follow up with conventional control to remove remnant rabbits and destroy their warrens.

“We don’t expect to see population reductions like those seen with the release of calici virus in 1996/97, as RHDV K5 is not being released into a fully susceptible rabbit population like that in 1996.”

Rabbits are Australia's most destructive agricultural pest animal, costing $200 million in lost agricultural production every year, with a further $6 million expended on rabbit control measures.

The information sessions are to be hosted by the Up2Us Landcare Alliance, Gecko CLaN Community Landcare Network, Upper Goulburn Landcare Network and Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority.

Where and when:

  • Euroa - Old Flour Mill on Tuesday, January 19 at 2pm
  • Mansfield - MACE Building on Wednesday, January 20 at 9.30am
  • Yea - GBCMA High Street on Wednesday, January 20 at 3pm.

The sessions are free and include light refreshments.

For further information and to RSVP for Euroa email Kerry Robson at landcare2@iinet.net.au For Mansfield email Kerstie Lee info@up2us.org.au and for the Yea session contact Chris Coburn at ugrecovery@gbcma.vic.gov.au.