Harrisburg, Pennsylvania –Recent detection of rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) in two captive rabbits in Fayette County has led to the creation of a Small Disease Management Area (DMA), where special regulations regarding wild rabbits are enforced, the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced today.
Rabbits or hares may not be captured, transported, rehabilitated, or released within RHD-DMA in southwestern Pennsylvania, which extends approximately 5 miles in each direction from the site in Uniontown where the RHD was detected. Feeding wild rabbits inside RHD-DMA is also prohibited. Hunters who harvest rabbits inside DMA need to prepare them for consumption before removing them from the DMA. Only the meat, with or without the bone, can be removed from the DMA. It is forbidden to remove all other parts of the rabbit.
The Gaming Commission’s creation of RHD-DMA follows the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s discovery of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus 2 (RHDV2) in two captive rabbits at a Fayette County facility. RHDV2 is a highly contagious and contagious virus that infects rabbits and closely related species. It has caused mass mortalities in hares and rabbit populations elsewhere, but has not been detected before in Pennsylvania. RHD-DMA protects the Pennsylvania wild rabbits from the introduction and spread of RHDV2.
The RHD-DMA boundaries are as follows: starting west at Uniontown at the intersection of SAR 21 and SAR 3023 (Footedale Road) proceed north at SAR 3023 (to become S. Mill St in New Salem) for 4.7 miles to the intersection of SAR 4010 Saudi (Chairs Herbert Rd.). Follow SAR 4010 east (to Pleasant View Smock Road and finally Upper Middletown Road Laurel Hill Road) for 9 miles to SAR 1051 Interchange (W Crawford Street). Follow 1051 SAR east for 0.3 miles to 1049 SAR (Eighty Acre Road). Follow SAR 1049 east for 1.8 miles to the SAR 119 junction. Follow SAR 119 south for 1.9 miles to the SAR 2027 junction (Connelsville Rd). Continue south on SAR 2027 for 2.7 miles to the SAR 2021 Interchange (Coolspring Jumonville Road). Follow the 2021 SAR south and east for 1 mile to the 2023 SAR junction (Hopwood Coolspring Rd). Follow 2023 for 2.4 miles to Interchange 2040 SAR (National Pike). Follow SAR 2040 south for 0.2 miles to the 3027 intersection (Hopwood Street will become a mountain road). Follow SAR 3027 (mountain road to N. Main St in Fairchance) SW for 5 miles to SAR 3014 (W Church Street) intersection. Follow SAR 3014 west (to become Dry Knob Road) for 1.1 miles to the Big Six Road junction. Turn right at Bix Six Road for 0.3 miles to Interchange 119 SAR (Morgantown Road). Turn right at SAR 119 and follow for 0.5 miles to the 3012 SAR junction (York Run Road). Follow SAR 3012 for 3.5 miles to the SAR 3009 junction (Walnut Hill Road). Advance North on SAR 3009 for 0.8 miles to the Davis Rd Junction. Follow Davis Road to become Sunshine Hollow Road for one mile to Kelly RD Junction. Turn a sharp right and continue east on Kelly Rd for 1 mile to the SR 21 junction (Mcclelandtown Rd). Follow SAR 21 east for 0.3 miles to the DMA origin point.
Aside from the special regulations announced today, the Game Commission’s previous executive order relating to RHD remains in effect. This order prohibits the import into Pennsylvania of any wild lagomorphs—a group that includes rabbits, hares, and pikas—or any of their parts or products from any state, county, territory, or country where RHDV2 has been detected in captive or wild lagomorphs within the previous twelve months. This ban will remain in effect until further notice, and effective October 2022, applies to Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico , New York, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
The Pennsylvania rabbit season began Saturday with the opening of the 2022 junior season. Rabbit hunting opens statewide on October 15.
All Pennsylvania residents are required to assist in RHDV2 surveillance to report any rabbit/rabbit mortality events—defined as the finding of two or more dead rabbits/rabbits at the same location and at the same time with an unknown cause of death—by calling 1- 833-PGC -WILD or using the online Wildlife Health Survey reporting tool at https://www.pgcapps.pa.gov/WHS.
Media contact: Travis Lau – 717-705-6541
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