Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 34

B Y J O E KO S A C K

RABBIT RISK
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease struck
wild rabbit populations in the United
States for the first time in 2020, and while
the disease, by year's end, had not been
detected in Pennsylvania, its potentially
devastating impacts to the Commonwealth's rabbit and hare populations
has the Game Commission paying close
attention and ramping up monitoring
efforts.
Known formally as Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2), the
strain of the disease that's been found in
wild rabbits in seven states - mostly in
the southwestern U.S. - first was detected
in France in 2010. The disease emerged
in European rabbits, which often are sold
in the United States as pets, or for food
or other products. Since 2018, isolated
RHDV2 cases - some as close as Ohio
and New York - have been detected in
domestic rabbits in the United States.
Then in March, an RHDV2 outbreak
surfaced in wild rabbits and jackrabbits
in New Mexico. Later it appeared in
Arizona, Colorado, California, Nevada,
Texas, and Utah.
The possibility of RHDV2 turning up
in Pennsylvania is a concern, said Emily
Boyd, a Game Commission small-game
mammal biologist. Not only could it
impact rabbit and hare hunting, but also
could upset ecosystems in which rabbits

are a key prey species and play a role in
shaping vegetative structure through their
foraging habits.
" RHDV2 outbreaks in other areas
have shown the virus has the potential to
devastate local rabbit and hare populations, " Boyd said. " This resilient virus
might remain on the landscape for weeks
or months and can survive freezing, so its
potential to spread and further decimate
wild rabbits and hares poses a direct threat
to wild populations. "

DISEASE AND SPREAD
RHDV1, the original form of Rabbit
Hemorrhagic Disease, is thought to
have emerged in the 1970s or 1980s in
Europe, according to Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease and Other Lagoviruses, a
handout published by Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in
June 2020. In 1984, a major outbreak in
China killed 14 million domestic rabbits
within nine months. By the late 1990s,
outbreaks had been seen in 40 countries,
and RHDV1 had become widespread in
a number of locations where European
rabbits also existed in the wild.
To date, RHDV2 has not impacted nonrabbit species and neither RHDV1 nor
RHDV2 pose any risk to human health.
In both domestic and wild rabbit populations, RHDV2 is transmitted directly

AND REWARD
PENNSYLVANIANS CAN HELP MONITOR RHD
34



Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 7
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 21
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 28
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 36
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 40
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2021 - Cover4
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