Release of K5 virus and integrated pest rabbit program

To boost feral rabbit biocontrol, a national wide release of a new strain of the calicivirus RHDV1 K5, or K5 for short, is planned for next month. 

Overseen by Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) nationally and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning in Victoria, release sites include pockets of rural Sunbury.

With less than one feral rabbit per hectare being enough to stop the growth of many native species in conservation areas, the release K5 is an important initiative to control the feral rabbit population in Australia.

Hume City Council will again be running its integrated pest rabbit program commencing in March, following the K5 release, through to September this year. Council will target known feral rabbit hotspots at Sunbury reserves and will monitor the success of both the K5 release and the integrated pest rabbit control program.

Council encourages landholders to conduct their own pest rabbit control to increase the effectiveness of the release of K5 and Council’s program.  

The current calicivirus vaccine is likely to continue to protect pet rabbits against this disease after the release of K5. For those people wanting to know more, the CRC’s pest smart website,, contains useful information about the K5 release including what to do to protect pet rabbits

For more information about Hume City Council’s integrated pest rabbit program, contact Hume City Council on 9205 2200. 

Posted on 9:00 AM, 28 February 2017

Updated : 1:54 PM, 1 March 2017

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