of domestic rabbits are being encouraged to vaccinate their pet rabbit or take
actions to keep them safe as a regional feral rabbit control program gets
underway in northern Sydney in February.
aim of the program is to reduce feral rabbit numbers and their impacts. In
urban environments this is most effective using Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease
Virus (RHDV1- K5).
are declared a pest animal in NSW as they compete with native animals and
degrade Australian native animals, plants and Endangered Ecological
Communities. They are also causing
public nuisance and significant damage to playing fields, public parks and
private property in northern Sydney.
RHDV1-K5 is not harmful to native animals or other domestic pets (it is
species-specific), pet rabbits can be infected by contact with wild rabbits and
biting insects. Since last year a new strain
of RHDV1, the K5-strain, has been earmarked for release due to its improved
suitability to Australian conditions, in particular the cool-wet regions of
Sydney where previous strains were less effective.
owners are encouraged to contact local vets to discuss vaccination and
additional protection measures including alternate housing in mosquito-proof
enclosures away from contact with wild rabbits.
release is currently scheduled to take place in selected reserves and open
space in northern Sydney from mid-February to the end of March. The release is
dependent on weather conditions and therefore pet owners should maintain the
vaccination program as recommended by their vet.