Australia’s War Against Rabbits

The Story of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease

October 2014
More details
  • Publisher
    CSIRO Publishing
  • Published
    1st October 2014
  • ISBN 9780643096127
  • Language English
  • Pages 240 pp.
  • Size 6.625" x 9.625"
  • Images 12 illus

The management of wild rabbits is a vexing problem worldwide. In countries such as Australia and New Zealand wild rabbits are regarded as serious pests to agriculture and the environment, while in many European countries they are considered an important hunting resource, and are a cornerstone species in Mediterranean ecosystems, modifying habitats and supporting important predator populations such as the Iberian lynx. The introduction of two viral diseases, myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease as biological control agents in Australia has been met favorably, yet their spread in southern Europe threatens natural rabbit populations. Despite this, scientists with very different goals still work together with a common interest in understanding rabbit biology and epidemiology.

Australia’s War Against Rabbits uses rabbit haemorrhagic disease as an important case study in understanding how animal populations adapt to diseases, in this case an RNA virus. Looking at Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease in an ecological framework enables insights into both virus and rabbit biology that are relevant for understanding other emerging diseases of importance to humans.

1. Prologue
2. Almeria awakening
3. The Coffee Brothers
4. A new disease
5. Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease
6. The European Rabbit
7. Australia’s worst Christmas present
8. The VIP Fleas
9. El Pulguero
10. Australia’s ecological blind-spot
11. The ecological impact of RHD in Europe
12. The Zaragosa Vet School
13. The introduction of RHD into Australia
14. Round three to the virus
15. Reconstructing the great escape
16. Epidemiology in the big paddock
17. Enter the commentators
18. Aotearoa-Land of the Long White Cloud
19. Rabbit Busters
20. Ecological effects of RHD in Australia and New Zealand
21. Blood groups and rabbit control?
22. Discovering kindred
23. A steadily changing virus
24. A dissection of uncertainties
25. A surgery of suppositions
26. Modelling hypotheticals
27. Genetically modified viruses
28. The animal welfare lobby
29. The dinner party
30. Hunter and Farmer
31. Future gazing
32. Walking and thinking
33. Epilogue
34. Index

Brian Douglas Cooke

Brian Douglas Cooke has worked on the management of wild rabbits for over 40 years. Initially in South Australia and subsequently in Canberra, he has worked with rabbits in Australia’s arid zone, Europe and the sub-Antarctic Kerguelen Islands, specializing most recently on newly emergent rabbit haemorrhagic disease.