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Beyond the Bale : December 2016
RHDV1 K5 IN 2017 PREPARING FOR THE RELEASE OF The roll out of a strain of rabbit calicivirus new to Australia is scheduled for March 2017. It will boost current biocontrol activity that is already impacting pest rabbit populations and help woolgrowers increase their productivity. The new virus known as RHDV1 K5 will be rolled out early next year at more than 600 sites across Australia in an effort to significantly reduce wild rabbit populations and their negative impact on agricultural production and native ecosystems. Community organisations, Landcare groups and government land managers will be participating in the national roll-out of the virus, co-funded by AWI. A commercial product of RHDV1 K5 will also be available shortly after the official release. AWI On-farm Program Manager Ian Evans said the RHDV1 K5 release will boost rabbit biocontrol in Australia. “This is a national initiative to better control rabbits, particularly in areas where the current strain of RHDV1 has not had as much success, like the cool-wet regions of Australia,” Ian said. “Population reductions are anticipated to be improved by anywhere from 0-40% depending on location and susceptibility of the rabbit population to RHDV1 K5, but knockdowns like those seen with the release of calicivirus in 1996/97 are not expected. “RHDV1 K5 is not a silver bullet and we need private and public land managers to be vigilant in not taking their foot off the pedal when it comes to their regular rabbit control. Rabbit biocontrol is beneficial when applied as part of an integrated and complementary pest management approach. “If we are to make any serious dent in the population, a coordinated community-led response will be needed; RHDV1 K5 offers a new opportunity to begin a conversation with neighbours with the aim of integrated best practice rabbit control at a landscape scale.” Wild rabbits are Australia’s most widespread and destructive agricultural and environmental vertebrate pest, costing $200 million in lost agricultural production every year and impacting 157 threatened native species. PHOTO: John Schilling RABBITSCAN HITS THE 12,000 MILESTONE Woolgrowers, other landholders and community groups across Australia can get involved with the initiative by using RabbitScan to record rabbit problems in their local area, and use the RabbitScan map to improve the management of rabbits in their region. RabbitScan is available free as a website and smartphone app – via www.rabbitscan.org.au. FeralScan coordinator, Peter West, says more than 12,000 records of rabbits, their damage and now evidence of disease have so far been entered into the RabbitScan database. “Many landholder groups and communities are now working together to use RabbitScan to map problem areas for rabbits, such as rabbit warrens along roadsides, and are using the data they have gathered to plan and coordinate cost- efficient rabbit control as a group,” he said. Similar tools for other invasive species including wild dogs (see right), foxes, and feral pigs are available at www. feralscan.org.au. FeralScan is a landholder, community, industry, research and government collaboration led by the Invasive Animals CRC and NSW Department of Primary Industries. MORE INFORMATION RabbitScan is available for use via www.rabbitscan.org.au and within the FeralScan app which can be downloaded to your iPhone and Android smartphone from iTunes and Google Play. DISCOVER THE WILDDOGSCAN APP WildDogScan is a free resource, available as a website and smartphone app, that can be used by anyone to record sightings of wild dogs, the damage or problems they cause, and the areas where control is being undertaken. WildDogScan is a tool for livestock producers, pest controllers and community members to help them monitor wild dog populations, and to better target the pests through coordinated control programs. Across Australia, there are up to 140 landholder and wild dog control groups using WildDogScan to plan control efforts and decide how to best reduce wild dog problems as a community. The program allows group members to update each other on wild dog activity with real time notifications. More than 3,000 wild dog sightings and reported wild dog impacts at more than 1,000 locations have so far been recorded. Users can view and print maps, view and export pest records, view or upload photos, and see where other people in their local area are also reporting pest animals. MORE INFORMATION WildDogScan is available for use via www.wilddogscan.org.au and within the FeralScan app which can be downloaded to your iPhone and Android smartphone from iTunes and Google Play. The WildDogScan mapping tool is available as an app for your Smartphone as well as a website. ON FARM 35
In the Shops - March 2017