Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Rabbit killing virus too slow to arrive, say farmers

Farmers who are becoming increasingly frustrated at out-of-control rabbit numbers are relieved a new rabbit-killing virus is going to be released next month.

Photo: Supplied / DoC

It is hoped the new strain of calicivirus will kill off between 40 and 80 percent of the country's wild rabbits

The hillsides and the coastline in Moeraki in Otago are crawling with rabbits, farmer Doug Stalker said.

He thought the K5 strain should have been released two years ago, before rabbit numbers exploded.

"Even if it kills 40 to 50 percent, they've still left it too long, because that's still a big population of rabbits left behind, I think they should have moved faster than what they have."

It was getting to such a critical state people might have acted on their own, as they did in 1997 when a different strain of the virus was illegally released here.

While rabbits were now immune to the effects of that virus, releasing the new one properly should help kill more, Mr Stalker said.

"They will introduce this one at an optimum time of the year so that we get an optimum spread, which will make it have a longer lasting activity. A lot of the rabbits built an immunity because it was introduced at the wrong time last time, the wrong time of year."

According to the Ministry for Primary Industries, baby rabbits exposed to the virus when they're between six and eight-weeks-old can end up with lifelong immunity.

Federated Farmers Otago president Phill Hunt said farmers were pleased a common sense decision had been made, so they did not have to take matters into their own hands again.

He said the long hot summer and a low mortality rate had lead to rabbit numbers reaching peaks they had in the past, in some places.

People with pet rabbits needed to make sure they get them vaccinated against the virus, he said.

Farmers were aware the virus was only one tool in managing rabbit numbers, and other measures would still be needed in keeping rabbits at bay.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


UN Rights Declaration At 70: We Are All Born Free And Equal

On Article 1 of the UDHR: Dignity is the foundation of all human rights. Human beings have rights, and should be treated with utmost care, precisely because each one possesses intrinsic worth. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The (Delayed) Judgment Day For Theresa May

When under stress, British PM Theresa May reportedly eats peanut butter straight from the jar. Crunch time is looming... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Politely Fake Political Obituaries (And The Paris Discord)

One unfortunate side effect of “personality politics” is that when prominent politicians die, the niceties we observe at the death of private individuals get automatically extended to them as well... More>>


Unique And Vanishing: NZ Biodiversity Losses Match Global Crisis

One might think that it is buffered from some of the effects of biological erosion, especially since people only arrived less than 800 years ago. But as we show, the impact on wildlife has been catastrophic. More>>

Your Name Here(ish): Sponsor A Section On! has just launched Section Sponsorships - the newest way for you to gain exposure for your brand to Scoop’s high value audience of 500,000 monthly readers. More>>


You Did It! The Scoop 3.0 PledgeMe Closes

Update: The Scoop 3.0 Crowdsale and Crowdfunding Campaign met its target with a total of $36,024 pledged. It looks like it has all been worthwhile. We are nearly there and will ride again in 2019, our 20th year of operations. Moreover the past week has brought a number of inquiries from larger organisations, many of which have till now failed to respond to our messages... More>>