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May 24, 2024

Bunnies Beware! Tweed Council to cull feral rabbit population with release of calicivirus

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Paul Bibby

The Tweed Shire’s feral rabbit population is facing a bleak future with the council set to release the rabbit-eradicating calicivirus next month.

Rabbit owners in that Shire are being advised to make sure their buck-toothed companions are vaccinated against the virus ahead of the likely release.

Tweed Shire Council is set to release the rabbit-killing calicivirus next month. Image supplied.

Tweed Council says rabbits are estimated to cause more than $200 million in damage to Australian agriculture every year, not to mention the damage to the natural environment and public infrastructure.

The wildlife protection program leader from Council’s pest management section, Pamela Gray, said less than one rabbit per hectare was enough to stop the growth of some native species and negatively affect biodiversity, leading to further loss of native plant and animal species.

‘One of the measures that will be used in the Tweed to control rabbits is a release of RHDV1 K5, a calicivirus strain,’ Ms Gray said.

‘Calcivirus was successful in reducing numbers of wild rabbits on the Tweed Coast in late 2017,’ she said.

‘The new strain last released nationally as a biological control in February 2017 and may be released in the Tweed in September.

‘Council strongly urges residents with pet rabbits to make sure their vaccinations are up to date to reduce the chances of their rabbit catching the virus.’

The council emphasised that the calicivirus was a constant presence in the local environment at relatively low levels.

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    • You never want to watch the Cruelty of the deaths I have had a Giant Pet Rabbit Die and convulse sick while nursing it convulsing till it died peeing craping in between squealing

  1. First I will Recommend these Councilors to watch a Rabbet die of this virus as well as 10/80 then you will see the suffering that these animals go through better fencing in the first place would have prevented the need of this extremely way of destroying any animal species.

  2. These animals were released by humans in an environment that had no natural predators, and it is therefore our responsibility to deal with the issue in a humane manner. If we’re going to poison species that are damaging the environment, I think we all know which species would be top of that list.


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