Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group delay release of calicivirus until autumn next year

Headshot of Kasper Johansen
Kasper JohansenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
A rabbit hops away after being released
Camera IconA rabbit hops away after being released Credit: Robert F. Bukaty/AP, Robert F. Bukaty

The Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group has hopped over its release of calicivirus until autumn next year and will instead be hosting a series of rabbit control events throughout November and December.

The decision comes after PHBG’s concerns that landholders rely “too heavily” on calicivirus, a virus that causes internal bleeding in rabbits, to maintain rabbit control.

During regular releases the virus is inoculated into pellets which are consumed by the rabbits, however a spokesperson for the PHBG said extended wet weather had ensured food resources for rabbits remained high which impactd the success of pre-feeding.

PHBG feral animal officer Megan Plant said in order for the rabbits to take up the pellets while the virus is still effective a successful period of pre-feeding beforehand is required.

We have found in previous years that late rains have impacted on our landholders being able to get the rabbits eating pellets before the release,

Megan Plant.

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The seminars, in lieu of the viruses release, will demonstrate the differing methods landholders can use to maximise rabbit pest control and include a virtual presentation by a vertebrate pest specialist.

Landholders in both Waroona and Harvey can register for the events which are set to take place on November 17 and November 25.

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