A NEW rabbit virus will be trialled next year at four sites on the Mornington Peninsula.
The peninsula sites are at Balnarring, Mt Martha, and Main Ridge. The virus will also be released at Cranbourne South and on French and Phillip islands.
“Rabbit populations are on the rise and a coordinated effort is needed from all levels of government working with researchers, industry and local communities to address this pest problem,” Flinders MP Greg Hunt said.
“The release of the RHDV1 K5 virus in areas where rabbits wreak havoc on native flora and fauna is part of the federal government’s $1.2 million commitment to assist in the research and development of new rabbit controls.”
High rabbit density areas were chosen to “achieve maximum coverage and provide the best outcomes through a broader spread of the virus”.
“The new variant of the virus won’t kill every pest rabbit, but it is the best option to address population resistance to existing RHDV strains and tackle this pest problem on a national scale,” he said. “Rabbits are real problem in our local community and cause an estimated $206 million in lost national production each year.”
Residents are asked to report pest sightings to authorities and to record and map rabbit activity using the RabbitScan mobile app.
Land managers will use the information in follow-up controls after the virus has been released.