Towards A Feral Free Future
4. Australia’s worst environmental and agricultural pest – the rabbit!
Before the introduction of Australia’s first rabbit biocontrol agent (called myxomatosis) was released in the 1950s, it was believed there were upwards of 10 billion rabbits wreaking havoc across Australia.
Rabbits are Australia’s worst environmental vandal and pest to agricultural and rabbit biocontrol agents (or viruses) have been a game changer for rabbit management within Australia.
In this episode we’ll hear from CSIRO virologist Dr Tanja Strive who has been studying rabbit viruses for more than a decade and along with her lab team, are analysing samples taken from rabbits across Australia, to understand how these viruses are moving across the landscape and where they are and aren’t working, to better inform management practices.
We’ll then chat with NSW DPI research scientist, Dr Pat Taggart who has the job of being out in the various Australian landscapes collecting rabbit samples and understanding best practice rabbit management in different areas to ensure we are able to promote the most effective integrated approaches to rabbit management in Australia.
Rabbits may be Australia’s #1 invasive species vandal, but with science at the helm, we are certainly starting to take control.