Rabbit hotspots – located by a new model of rabbit populations

Spotlight counts of rabbits from 116 sites across Australia, taken over 41 years, have enabled modellers to better understand what makes a ‘rabbit hotspot’ – places of high rabbit persistence. These areas are high priorities for well-timed eradication programs.

The research team was able to use the survey data to test a new model of rabbit persistence. They concluded that temperature and rainfall (or irrigation), along with the prevalence of the benign RCV-A1 calicivirus (which provides partial protection against the lethal RHDV), were  important factors in rabbit abundance.

For more information see the paper by Brown et.al in EcoEvoRxiv Preprints.

Model output, showing the percentage of time spent in ‘hotspot conditions’ supporting high rabbit abundance. (Brown et.al, 2019)

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