Early summer can result in more sightings of rabbits, especially young ones born since breeding that was stimulated by spring rainfall.
The RHDV1-K5 virus has been approved for release but it doesn’t kill young rabbits – it actually provides them with life-long immunity. So now is not the time for a planned K5 release. Instead, attention to warren destruction or baiting programs may be better options in early summer, with K5 used to mop up in late summer or autumn when the rabbits are older and the virus more effective.
RHDV2 is another virus present in many areas, and it does kill young rabbits. Work is underway through the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions (CISS) to have it registered as a biological control for rabbits, so it too may be released in a planned way, providing another option for the late spring – early summer period.
A recent article from CISS covers summer rabbit management – and includes a great video from the ABC; ‘160 years of battling the bunny’.
For more information:
- Summer rabbits advice from CISS
- ‘160 years of battling the bunny‘ video from the ABC
- Efficacy testing and monitoring of RHDV2 for registration by CISS