Rabbits cost Australian agriculture over $200 million a year and impact on 156 threatened native species. This war has challenged farmers and researchers for generations and the battle continues.
One of the success stories in the battle has been the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (CRC).
At the CRC Association Conference, the Invasive Animals CRC will be presented an Award for Excellence in Innovation for its part in bringing together farmers, the community, school students and researchers in a campaign against rabbits.
The Invasive Animals CRC public awareness programs work to alert the community to the dangers posed by rabbits, and provide resources to keep the rabbit population to a manageable number.
Through websites, the media, national story-telling competition and toolkits, the CRC has constructed partnerships with community, industry and landholders, unlocking the power of Australians to work together.
The public awareness programs include RabbitScan, which helps landholders map rabbit hotspots on their property, and pinpoint the areas where they have rabbit control programs in place.
feral.org.au is a key to the CRC’s fight against the rabbit. It is an interactive, online resource provising a central reference point for pest animal research. People can search for maps, fact sheets, articles and photos, any information relevant to their own region.
Mr Andreas Glanznig, CEO of the Invasive Animals CRC, says a key project of the CRC, RHD Boost, aims to identify new and more effective Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) strains and potentially save the Australian economy $1.4 billion over 15 years.
“There seems to be a rising genetic resistance to the original calicivirus and we’re screening new candidates which work better in cooler, wetter regions,” he says.
“We need a broad range of programs in place if we are going to bring rabbits under control.”
The Award will be presented by Professor Margaret Sheil, CEO of the Australian Research Council, at the annual conference of the CRC Association. The Awards Dinner is on Wednesday 18 May at the Brisbane Convention and Entertainment Centre.
Mr Andreas Glanznig
CEO Invasive Animals CRC
phone 0417 020 174
Ms Tracey Lianos
Communications Manager, Invasive Animals CRC
phone 0412 261 711