Calicivirus RHDV1-K5 Releases – Part of an Integrative Approach for Rabbit Control

The Leschenault Biosecurity Group conducts an annual Calicivirus RHDV1-K5 (K5) Release Program, facilitating targeted virus releases in collaboration with participating landholders across our operational area over the summer season.  The group encourages neighbours to join together in this program as the more people that participate, the more effective the program will be.

LBG Calicivirus RHDV1-K5 Release Program – Participant Information

Calicivirus RHDV1-K5 is a very helpful, effective rabbit bio-control tool, but NOT a “silver bullet”.
Calicivirus “K5” is biological control providing a very important tool for suppressing pest rabbit numbers throughout the landscape, reducing the substantial impact pest rabbits have on both agricultural production and the environment.The “K5” virus will not eliminate all rabbits, but typically does result in a significant reduction in rabbit population, hopefully better enabling landholders the ability to implement other rabbit control strategies around their property. The key to success for effective rabbit control is persistence. “One-off” efforts produce only short-term results as rabbit populations can recover quickly even after successful control programs. As is well known, rabbits reproduce very effectively; complete elimination of rabbits is close to impossible. Persistence and integration of varied tools and methods to best address property-specific circumstances is key to effective rabbit control. 

Virus Release Process:  LBG team members are accredited to mix the virus and inoculate a medium to faciliate targeted virus releases.  LBG uses clipped oats for this purpose. The virus will remain active in the oats for a short time after inoculation so planning happens beforehand to pre-arrange collection dates and times for participants to receive their pre-determined quantity of virus inoculated oats on ‘Release Day.

Calicivirus RHDV1 K5 (“K5” Strain of the Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus) is species-specific
This virus, used across the country as a biocontrol tool for rabbit management, specifically and only affects rabbits. Other species, including pets that ingest infected rabbits, or birds or other wildlife that may ingest virus inoculated oats, or spreading mediums, are not affected by this virus.

Pet and Domestic Rabbit Owners:  A vaccine that protects domestic rabbits against this strain is available and strongly recommended for pet rabbits’ in the release region. It is important however to clarify that other strains not protected by the vaccine can also be present in the region.  Information for Owners of PET & DOMESTIC rabbits

For more information about this virus, please click on link below:  WA Dept of Agriculture Rabbit Control: RHDV1 K5