Former Research

 

dung transect2

Dung transects help determine the distribution and abundance of rabbits.

Former investments in research by the Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia included:

  • A contribution to the 'RHD Boost' project, through the Invasive Animals CRC, to evaluate possible new strains of RHD for Australia and to prepare for their release.
  • A PhD Grant awarded to Amy Iannella, University of Adelaide, whose thesis is entitled ‘Investigating rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) resistance to rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) variants in Australia’.
  • A Postgraduate Research Grant awarded to Maija Marsh whose research project was titled 'Causes of local variation in the impact of RHDV on rabbit populations'. This grant supported a visit by Dr Piran White from the University of York, UK, to provide assistance with fieldwork, collaborate more closely with Maija and other Australian researchers, and to develop further joint research topics on RHDV dynamics and rabbit control. Extra funding was also provided to enable Dr. White and Maija Marsh to travel to Adelaide and give a seminar to RFA members.
  • Two small research grants provided through the Royal Zoological Society’s scholarship scheme.
    • Support for Dr. Katherine Moseby, Roxby Downs, to extend information from a rabbit control project, involving the radio-tracking of rabbits to understand their behaviour – such as time spent in burrows and grazing. It showed that home ranges were larger in winter than summer.
    • Josh Griffiths, The University of Adelaide, with logistic support for a project on competition between rabbits and bilbies. It involved radio-tracking bilbies in the wild at Venus Bay and at Roxby Downs, and showed that males roamed much further than females – covering up to several kilometres in an evening.
  • A travel grant to allow Greg Mutze, Senior Research Officer from the then Animal and Plant Control Commission, to attend the 2nd International Lagomorph Conference in Portugal, and to consult with scientists at an RHD laboratory in Italy. S Kidman & Co provided additional funding through RFA.
  • A Rabbit Calicivirus Research Project, co-funded with S Kidman & Co.

The Foundation has been active in building the capacity of Australian research infrastructure to be effective in rabbit control research. Activities have included:

  • Convening a National Workshop on Rabbit R&D Directions in 2005, which stimulated Meat & Livestock Australia and Australian Wool Innovation to develop a grazing industry strategy for rabbit management and abatement. RFA’s predecessor had convened a major conference in 1993, which was important in garnering support for research into, and the release of, the RHD virus.
  • Membership of the National Rabbit Management Advisory Group, a body jointly funded by Australian Wool Innovation and Meat & Livestock Australia and convened by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, to provide national strategic and practical advice on the planning, implementation and delivery of rabbit research and development programs and their outcomes.
  • Supporting the establishment of the Invasive Animals CRC with letters of support and contact with government agencies and Ministers.
  • Sponsoring a rabbit session at the 2008 Australian Vertebrate Pests Conference, and a 2007 seminar on the impact of RHD.
  • Contributing to a CSIRO Division of Sustainable Resources 'Rabbit Conference', in 2001.