The Shire of Manjimup will be undertaking Feral Rabbit Management from December 2020 to January 2021.
This project is funded by the Australian Government under the "Communities Combating Pests and Weed Impacts During Drought Program"
The Shire of Manjimup have received reports from all over the Shire of rabbits being problematic in farming and town areas. As rabbits travel between private and public lands, a whole landscape approach will be undertaken.
The first strain of the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (Calicivirus) was released in Australia in 1996 to control wild rabbits. This was needed as the Myxomatosis virus had become less effective.
The latest strain of calicivirus called RHDV1 K5 is planned to be released in to the local environment where high rabbit numbers have been reported. The virus is transported from rabbit to rabbit via flies and mosquitoes, which is why it is more active in warmer months.
The virus does not impact on any species other than rabbits. However, this does include domestic rabbits and a vaccine is available from your local veterinarians.
Rabbit owners should also seek advice from their veterinarians on ways to implement additional biosecurity measures. These can include: insect proofing, good hygiene practices, and avoiding contact with other rabbits.
More information can be found at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development website:
Rabbit death from the calicivirus is sudden and deceased feral rabbits will start to appear after the release of the virus. In order for the virus to spread effectively, deceased rabbits should be left in the same area. It is also possible that deceased rabbits can be moved to areas where rabbits are still active and numbers are high.
"The virus can not affect humans or pets other than rabbits, however precautions should be made when handling deceased animals, for example where gloves" commented Shire President Paul Omodei.
Feeding stations will be setup in the Shire of Manjimup. Subject to available funds, the townsites of Manjimup, Pemberton, Northcliffe and Walpole as well as private landholders who have expressed interest in rabbit control will be targeted for rabbit management. This pre-feeding stage will contain no virus and will encourage the rabbits to feed in a particular area. Once the habit is formed the virus will be introduced to the station for the rabbits to feed on.
"The community can contribute to this project by downloading the feralscan app to report alive and dead rabbits, their warrens or their diggings" he added.
Authorised by Andrew Campbell, Chief Executive Officer
Contact Sheri Laba, Public Relations Officer
Contact for comment: Paul Omodei, Shire President
Contact: 0448 810 773