Canterbury rabbit calicivirus release under way

Environment Canterbury announced today that it had started the release programme for the new rabbit haemorrhagic virus disease strain, RHDV1 K5.

The regional council received the approvals required for the importation and release last month.  Most other regional councils are also participating in the programme.

Graham Sullivan, Environment Canterbury Regional Leader Biosecurity, said the release would reduce the significant environmental and agricultural impacts of wild rabbits, particularly in the southern part of the region.  Of the 350 release sites, 100 are in Canterbury.

“The controlled release, using a high-quality commercially prepared product, is being undertaken in Canterbury now because research suggests this is the optimal time to increase the effectiveness of the virus,” Mr Sullivan said.

Visit MPI's website for the approvals and frequently asked questions.

For more information on the discovery of a new strain of rabbit calicivirus click here.