The Federal Government is trialling a new virus next year at seven sites across the electorate to curb rabbit populations and their devastating impact on agricultural production and native ecosystems.
This will include areas where rabbits wreak havoc on native flora and fauna such as Balnarring, Cranbourne South, French Island, Phillip Island, Mount Martha and two locations in Main Ridge.
Rabbit populations are on the rise and a coordinated effort is needed from all levels of government working with researchers, industry and local communities to address this pest problem.
The release of the RHDV1 K5 virus is part of the Australian Government’s $1.2 million commitment to assist in the research and development of new rabbit controls.
Areas with high rabbit density were a priority in the site selection process, which aims to achieve maximum coverage and provide the best outcomes through a broader spread of the virus.
The new variant of the virus won’t kill every pest rabbit, but it is the best option to address population resistance to existing RHDV strains and tackle this pest problem on a national scale.
Rabbits are real problem in our local community and cause an estimated $206 million in lost national production each year.
I ask local residents to remain vigilant by reporting pest sightings to authorities and by recording and mapping rabbit activity in their area using the new RabbitScan mobile app, which will be used to monitor the effectiveness of control measures.
Information entered in the app will provide essential data to land managers undertaking follow up controls once the RHDV1 K5 virus has been released.
For more details about the RHD-Boost project, visit the Invasive Animals CRC website www.invasiveanimals.com