Sunday, March 9

More Rabbits

Yesterday I made a posting about the Great Easter Bunny Shoot, a mass hunt of rabbits in the region around Alexandra. As about a third of the visitors to my site are from overseas, I thought in the night that perhaps I might be seen as some sort of psychopathic killer, so here are some facts.

Rabbits, introduced in the 1830's by English settlers, rapidly reached plague proportions, largely because this country had none of their natural enemies such as, for example, the fox, the wolf, or the coyote. They stripped vast swathes of land of its vegetation and erosion on a huge scale was the result.

The problem was compounded in the 1880's when ferrets, weasels, and stoats were introduced to control the rabbits. In Australia foxes were introduced for the same purpose. Unfortunately the mustelids, ie the stoat etc, found native birds very much to their liking. The more the rabbit numbers are reduced, the more the mustelids turn to native birds as a food source.

Various methods of rabbit control have been trialled, such as myxomatosis, and RCD, but the problem is still far from solved, hence the value of these events such as the Easter Bunny Shoots.

Twice I have taken photos of rabbits. Here is one taken in the desert of New Mexico, USA, in about 2000.