Feral rabbits are on notice. Landcare groups and land management authorities across the region are preparing for a new strain of Calicivirus with a month devoted to bunny busting.
The new strain, known as K5, is expected to be released either this spring or next Autumn.
North Central Catchment Management Authority regional landcare coordinator Tess Grieves said the new virus would help control rabbit infestations.
“It is not a silver bullet and won’t have the same knock-down affect as Myxomatosis, but when it is used in conjunction with conventional control methods, it will make a big difference.”
In the meantime, February is Rabbit Buster Month and the North Central CMA is helping local Landcare groups spread the rabbit-control message far and wide.
Rabbit Buster Month is an annual North Central CMA campaign funded by the Australian government.
Ms Grieves said there was a sense of excitement around this month’s campaign.
Rabbit management demonstrations
She said the Ravenswood Valley Landcare Group were just one of the groups doing their best to help landholders make inroads into rabbit management. The group will host a Rabbit Control Field Day on Sunday 14 February.
“The event will feature information and on-site demonstrations of how to fumigate, rip, bait and ferret,” Ms Grieves said.
“Experts will also be on hand to answer any questions and provide information.”
The free field day will be held at the North Harcourt Hall near the tennis courts from 8.45am to 1pm.
North Central CMA project manager Adrian Martins said the organisation is also working with Landcare groups around significant wetlands in the north of the state.
“We are funding the Lake Charm and Fairley Bael Bael Landcare groups so they can bait and undertake other control measures on freehold land that adjoins the Avoca Marshes and Lake Cullen.”
“For every bucket of bait the Landcare members buy, we supply another one. Working with the community is vital in working towards the eradication of rabbits.
“Controlling rabbits on freehold land next to wetlands will help support what the public land managers are doing.”
The North Central CMA is also undertaking sensitive rabbit control works at Little Lake Kelly.
“We have fenced off a lunette, an environmentally sensitive section of all wetlands, which has become rabbit-infested,” he said.
To find out more about the new strain of Calicivirus, go to www.pestsmart.org.au. To RSVP to Ravenswood Valley Landcare’s Rabbit Control Field Day, call 0429 635 272.