THE City of Kalamunda will start a localised rabbit control program in mid-December using rabbit calicivirus disease, or RCD, a biological control agent.
The virus is spread from wild rabbits through mosquitos, fleas and flies.
The virus does not affect other animals but domestic rabbits can contract the virus.
Vaccinations are the greatest form of protection and are available to pet owners at local clinics.
Mayor John Giardina urged owners to heed the advice and ensure their rabbit’s vaccinations are up to date.
“Protecting your pet rabbit from RCD is as simple as a visit to your local veterinary clinic,” he said.
“Vaccinations are readily available.
“If you are unsure or want to know more, the best thing to do is to contact your vet.”
New recommendations say pet owners should have their rabbits vaccinated every six months.
The European Rabbit is Australia’s costliest and most destructive vertebrate pest.
After arriving with the First Fleet in the 1800s, the rabbit population grew out of control, causing land degradation and competition with native species.
With the strategic release of the Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD), the City will join government agencies across Australia working to reduce the biodiversity threat.
RCD was first released in Australia in 1996 and proved extremely effective, reducing the pest rabbit population in parts of the country by 90 per cent.
It was less effective in cooler, wetter climates with rabbits developing a resistance over time.
A global search for a new strain of the virus was sought in 2014, a Korean strain was found to be the most promising and released nationally in 2017.
For more information on the rabbit control program visit www.kalamunda.wa.gov.au or call 9257 9999.
By Claire Ottaviano