This update is part of the Healthier Landscapes campaign: improving the health of our land through integrated rabbit management.
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RHD Boost Update is an initiative of the healthier landscapes campaign, produced by the Invasive Animals CRC to keep you informed about the progress and national release of RHDV1 K5 to boost rabbit biocontrol.

Update on the national release of RHDV1 K5

The national release of RHDV1 K5 is still being proposed to take place in 2017. The release and monitoring of RHDV1 K5 will require the assistance of many individual landholders, community groups, landcare groups and government agencies who have already expressed interest in being involved.
These individuals and groups were recently emailed to confirm their interest in being involved in the program, and thanks to everyone who replied. The EOI sites have also been sent to our state and territory jurisdictional partners as to provide advice to our research team in best allocating the free virus vials around the country.
RHDV1 K5 is not a new virus; it is a Korean variant of RHDV1 and specific to the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). After rigorous research testing, it was selected as it is considered to work better in the cooler and wetter regions of Australia, than the current Czech strain of RHDV1 (v351). As such these regions may be favoured during the selection process.
However, it should be emphasised that as European rabbits in Australia have been exposed to the Czech strain of RHDV1, they are not a naïve population of pest rabbits. Therefore, the release of RHDV1 K5 will not result in a 90% reduction of the pest rabbit population (as seen with previous rabbit virus release programs). It is still vital that conventional rabbit management techniques are undertaken and incorporated as part of any management program.

Next steps:  A number of government approvals are still being processed, while this happens the RHD Boost research team are finalising release site submissions and obtaining advice from the state and territory jurisdictional partners on a proposed national program. As the team gears up for this, they will aim to make contact with all EOI recipients to reconfirm final details and to advise on the success of applicants. Make sure you keep checking your emails for updates.

RHDV2 confirmed in European brown hares - what does this mean for RHDV1 K5

The Invasive Animals CRC national rabbit biocontrol monitoring program has confirmed through laboratory testing that Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2) was present in three recently deceased European brown hares in Australia – one in Victoria and two in South Australia.
RHDV2 is specific to Lagomorph species, which include rabbits and hares. Australia only has two Lagomorph species – the European rabbit and the European brown hare. In Australia, RHDV2 has now been confirmed in these two invasive Lagomorph species, and has not been found to infect or kill any native or other introduced species. In Europe, RHDV2 has infected European rabbits, Cape hares and Italian hares, and similarly has not infected or killed any other native or introduced species.
It is unknown how RHDV2 arrived into Australia, after it was first discovered in a European rabbit in the ACT more than a year ago and the Invasive Animals CRC along with its partners, are now assisting authorities in monitoring the movement of the disease within Australia. 
This finding should not impact on any potential release of RHDV1 K5, still proposed for 2017.

Read the full announcement here.

Note from our National Rabbit Facilitator

The Victorian Rabbit Action Network (VRAN), instigated through a partnership between the Invasive Animals CRC and the Victorian Government has really started to change the way communities and the government manage the pest rabbit problem.
The initiative is about finding collective responses to this national problem, building relationships of trust and respect between the various stakeholders and groups.
There is currently an evaluation of VRAN being undertaken to explore what has worked, and how to develop a 'recipe book’ which can be utilised in other states. The next stage of this project is to facilitate the Rabbit Action Network piloted in Victoria out to other jurisdictions. I am excited to start beginning talks with other states and territories to roll this out and am receiving much interest.
The Victorian program has had some great success stories - the Bellarine region in Victoria undertook a Small Grants program funded through VRAN and the Invasive Animals CRC and this was highly successful in achieving community involvement and collaboration. The Victorian Minister for the Environment has been talking about the social component to rabbit management and highlighting the success of the VRAN, which is great to show the effect of the project on the wider rabbit management 'system'.
We are on track in developing our ‘recipe book’ for coordinated and community led rabbit management within Australia and I look forward to providing more updates in the future.
If you want to find out more about the Victorian Rabbit Action Network visit or watch this short video clip. There was also a recent Victorian Landcare article highlighting the VRAN initiative in their newsletter which you can read here
Michael Reid, National Rabbit Facilitator

ABC Landline highlights rabbits biocontrol

In case you missed it, ABC Landline aired a feature segment about our RHD Boost project on May 1st. The segment features interviews with Project Leader Dr Tarnya Cox, National Rabbit Facilitator Michael Reid and Invasive Animals CRC CEO Andreas Glanznig, along with representatives from government, industry and animal welfare organisations.
Thanks to Prue Adams and the Landline team for producing this segment showcasing the importance of integrated rabbit management. 

[ Watch the full segment here... ]

Rollout of RHDV1 K5 in Australia: information guide

We invite you all to download our new RHDV1 K5 information guide which provides general information on rabbit biocontrol in Australia and the proposed roll out of RHDV1 K5. It outlines how to get involved in the proposed release of RHDV1 K5 and where you can get further information.

[ Download the guide here ... ]

Recent online media coverage
Have a question? Visit our RHDV K5: Frequently asked questions page
Missed an update? View the RHD Boost archives here
Copyright © 2015 Invasive Animals CRC

RHD Boost Update is administered by the the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre
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