Australian Biocontrol Beats Rabbits, But Not Rules

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  17 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5435, pp. 1842
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5435.1842

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


MELBOURNE-- To stop millions of foliage-eating introduced rabbits from turning huge tracts into desert, Australia has become the only nation to successfully use a biocontrol agent on a vertebrate, namely the European rabbit calicivirus disease. The virus appears to be a stunning success--rabbit numbers are way down and once barren deserts are blooming. Yet for biocontrol officials, the calicivirus experience has been a major embarrassment, a sobering lesson in the unpredictability of biocontrol agents.