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Rabbit owners are being encouraged to vaccinate their pets this month, prior to the release of the Calicivirus as part of a continuing program to control the number of wild rabbits in Canterbury-Bankstown.
Mayor Khal Asfour said the new strain of the virus was first used last year, to successfully reduce the feral rabbit population in Milperra by 75 percent.
"As a result, there has been a noticeable improvement in the condition of the natural environment, particularly in and around Newland Reserve," Mayor Asfour said.
According to the NSW Department of Primary Industries, wild rabbits are Australia’s most destructive pest animal, threatening more than 300 native plant and animal species.
"Rabbits are universally recognised for their formidable breeding, with just two rabbits capable of producing 200 offspring," Mayor Asfour said.
"That is why this is the best version of the strain we’ve seen yet because it helps suppress the wild rabbit population, and is not a threat to people or other animals."
Dr Edward Humphries, from Rossmore Veterinary Hospital, said the virus is not a threat to people and all other animals, except pet rabbits.
"Rabbits should be vaccinated at least once a year and baby rabbits can receive their vaccinations from four weeks," he said.
"It’s near impossible to keep your pet rabbit completely away from insects and other rabbits, which is exactly how the virus is contracted.
"So it’s vital, people who own pet rabbits keep up to date with their vaccination program."
Milperra is one of 640 areas where the strain is being used in rabbit management control.
Council will continue to offer cage traps to residents in Milperra to further reduce the wild rabbit population.
The program will occur at Newland, Vasta Dunstan, Eynham and Heritage Reserves, from late April.
For more information, go to lls.nsw.gov.au
14/02/2018 11:26 AM