Government vets and Park tal-Majjistral administrators are investigating the reports of deaths among wild rabbits in various places in the countryside around Malta, Gozo and even on Comino.
A few days ago, TVM reported that farmers and hunters expressed their concern when they found dead wild rabbits in abnormal amounts.
Sammy Vella, Park tal-Majjistral chairman, told TVM the wild rabbits deaths were likely caused by the VHD disease. “This disease has spread in Malta, in Żurrieq and Marsaxlokk, and in Gozo. We take good care of wild rabbits at the park and Nature Trust has a project to breed the wild rabbits”.
Animal Protection and Health Department director general, Dr Marica Gatt said that government vets are also investigating the reported deaths of wild rabbit. She added that the VHD is a virus which spreads even from mosquitos.
“Carcasses of rabbits found dead at the park were collected and an autopsy was made by vets who took samples that were sent abroad for tests. The symptoms resemble VHD. We recommend that no domestic rabbits are let loose in roads because this may affect the wild rabbit”.
The tests carried out in foreign laboratories will determine whether the wild rabbits died with the VHD virus or by any other variant of this virus.
The Animal Protection department appealed to the public to contact it if anyone finds dead wild rabbits in the countryside and warned people not to touch them, especially if they had just died.
Deaths of wild rabbits at Park tal-Majjistral being investigated