8 Jan 2018

The rabbit problem

From Our Changing World, 9:06 pm on 8 January 2018

Rabbits have been major pests since they were introduced to New Zealand in the mid-1800s

In 1997, the disease known both as rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) or as rabbit calicivirus was illegally imported into New Zealand in an attempt to control feral rabbits. The introduction dented rabbit numbers for a while but as animals have developed immunity numbers have built up again.

Now the Canterbury Regional Council would like to introduce a more virulent strain of RHD, the K5 variant.

Berenice Mathieu, a student from the Centre for Science Communication at the University of Otago, investigates and talks to fruit growers Pete and John Gilchrist from Willowbank Orchard near Roxburgh, as well as rabbit owner Caitlin Dunstan- Harrison, and vet Allen Yang.

A file photo shows a rabbit in the grass in an unspecified part of New Zealand

Photo: 123RF

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