Registrations double for rabbit control assistance
The 2019 calicivirus release was the largest yet with the Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group (PHBG) delivering the control agent to over 100 sites across five local government authorities.
A last-minute rush to register after newspaper coverage saw the Group double the number of landholders involved from 2018.
The program includes landholder information sessions, pre-feeding and monitoring activities. Staff from the PHBG drove nearly 2000 kilometres to deliver the virus.
"We have a short window of time to deliver the virus to landholders; the weather needs to be suitable and the virus is only viable for a 24 hour period after it is mixed with the feed,” said Anneliese Bone, feral animal educator from the PHBG.
“Our landholders were so helpful and patient while we coordinated a complicated delivery process.
"Before the virus was released we took samples from dead rabbits found in two different areas and they were shown to have died from the virus. This means that the biocontrol is still working to control rabbits in areas it was released 12 months prior.
"It's exciting to think that our efforts are being extended all year long and we are already taking registrations for the 2020 release."
The calicivirus will not remove all rabbits from an area and it's critical to mop up survivors with complementary control methods.
Landholders can email the PHBG at feralanimals@ phbg.org for information, equipment hire and support to assist them in their rabbit control efforts.
Landholders can get in touch with the Group at any time and as Anneliese urges, “don't wait until numbers are high for control due to the damage feral rabbits inflict on the surrounding environment."