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This has certainly been the case on Macquarie Island. Unfortunately the fences were a flop because rabbits had already moved into the areas being fenced off. The suitability of this strain as a new agent depends on whether it infects native fauna, and the ease with which it spreads across rabbit populations. They are now found in all states and territories, including several offshore islands. The evolutionary future of rabbits will likely be as heavily influenced by humans as by nature. In 2000, researchers in Italy reported the discovery of a new and virulent strain of the calicivirus. The majority of Australian rabbits are descended from 24 wild rabbits released near Geelong in 1859. Until the successful release of the myxoma virus, and the introduction of 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) poisoning programs in the 1950s, rabbit numbers remained essentially unchecked. ii) Example: European rabbits were introduced to Australia as a source of food. As we know, once bunnies start breeding, it's hard to make them stop. The rate at which bunnies breed doesn't help either; a single female rabbit is able to produce between 18 and 30 young per year. The species had spread throughout Victoria and by 1880 was found in New South Wales. Knowing where rabbits are across Australia will assist in better implementation of rabbit eradication strategies. Myxomatosis, the disease caused by the Myxoma virus, occurs naturally in South American cottontail rabbits. The virus reduced rabbit populations by 90 per cent in arid zones and held them down for around 10 years, says Mutze. We suspect it is acting as a natural vaccine," says Strive. "We don't have a reasonable rabbit map in Australia," says Professor Tony Peacock, chief executive officer of the Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre (IACRC). "RHD was first detected in China in 1984 and it spread through wild and domestic rabbits in Europe," says Mutze. "It was hoped that they would flourish so that the owners could hunt them.". Wikipedia This is partly because rabbits are developing genetic resistance to the virus, and the virus itself has changed and is not as virulent as the original strain. The virus was promptly released into the wild in Australia and effectively spread like wildfire through mosquito and rabbit flea bites, and killed all but 0.2% of the rabbits. Currently, rabbits inhabit around 4 million square kilometres of Australia, stretching from southeast NSW to the WA wheatbelt. Journal of Applied Ecology. Males are … "In a lot of cases, the vegetation community had completely changed to what are essentially grazing lawns," says Lucieer. The rabbits are also developing resistance to the introduced calicivirus. After years of battling this pest, Australia is now facing a fresh increase in rabbit numbers. Currently, rabbits inhabit around 4 million square kilometres of Australia, stretching from southeast NSW to the WA wheatbelt. The European rabbit became widespread in North America and Australia, for example, where the wild rabbit has become a troublesome pest to farmers and conservationists. Conventional and biological controls have been used in Australia to eradicate rabbits. The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) or coney is a species of rabbit native to southwestern Europe (including Portugal, Spain and western France) and to northwest Africa (including Morocco and Algeria). In the 1840s, rabbit-keeping was a common practice among colonists, with bunny rabbit thefts showing up in court records. The last Ice Age confined the species to the Iberian peninsula and small areas of France and northwest Africa, but due to human action and adaptability of this species, European rabbits today exist in the wild on every continent except Asia and Antarctica. 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