Biological control of vertebrate pest species has evolved from classical "release and forget" strategies to current programs of integrated management, which in the future may include the use of genetically modified organisms. Key stages in the use of biocontrol are illustrated with the history of managing rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in Australia. Two pathogens have been successfully released, myxoma virus in the 1950s and rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) virus in 1995, and both have been highly effective in suppressing rabbit populations. The rapid attenuation of myxoma virus, as well as bioclimatic constraints on its distribution, and the development of resistance in wild rabbits prompted the later release of insect vectors and highly virulent strains of the virus. The evolution of the current rabbit-myxomatosis-RHD-predator system is still being monitored, and research is in progress to add immunocontraceptive strains of myxoma virus to the suite of rabbit control techniques. Increased attention to measuring the outcomes of pest management resulted in a nationwide program to document the economic and environmental consequences of RHD. This program was conducted much more systematically than for introduction of myxoma virus or its vectors, and similar monitoring is likely to be mandatory for future biocontrol agents.