Rabbit virus to be administered to rabbit red-zone to control wild population

Rosina Fridd has been breeding rabbits for 25 years - she knows all 70 by name in her Aranui backyard.

Fridd, a rabbit breeder, told Newshub: "This is my older pair of Flemish Giants - we're hoping for some babies soon from Ivy here, Kora at the back there." 

In amongst the cages are rare breeds including the Enderby Island rabbit and also the critically endangered Polish rabbit.

Fridd said: "We can't import from overseas now, so what we've got is what we've got and if we lose them, the breeds are gone for good."

Rosina Fridd lives a block away from the residential red-zone where the wild rabbit population is out of control - the Government has announced it's going to release the K5 strain of the Calicivirus - a rabbit-killing disease.

Fridd feels helpless to protect her pets.

"It's something I've worked on for so long and the consequences of it are just unbelievable."

Land Information New Zealand said the virus is targeted at the Grey European breed rabbits which are common in the red-zone, and has given rabbit owners a month's warning to get their pets vaccinated.

Matt Bradley, the manager of Land Information New Zealand, told Newshub: "We have been in contact with the vets to make sure they are certainly communicating with their clients and they're prepared for any questions they receive."

It's little comfort for Fridd - she's been quoted $86 per vaccination. Multiply that by 70 rabbits, and it is going to cost her over $6,000 to protect her colony of rabbits - which she can't afford.

"I know that if anything did happen to these guys it would be the end of me," Fridd said.

The virus will be released and spread in a months time


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