Community members are being asked not to dump or leave their pet bunnies in parks and fields around Cape Town, as this has become a problem in recent months that has led to colonies and painful deaths.
According to Bunny Tales Rescue, a local organisation that rescues and cares for bunnies in need, more and more people are abandoning their bunnies in fields and parks and putting them in danger.
“We truly can’t understand why people will release house pets to live in the streets, let them fend for themselves and be out there under all sorts of elements and predators. We notice people usually like to dump them in parks or recreational centres because there are already colonies there, so many people think those feral bunnies live well and in consequence their unwanted bunnies will too so they just released them there,” says Anabel and Michael Tout from Bunny Tales Rescue.
Releasing bunnies often leads to uncontrollable colony numbers and it only takes two bunnies to start a whole colony. The majority of bunny dumping is caused by misconceptions that bunnies are good pets for small children and easy to care for.
“People keep dumping them in many places and pretty much you can find feral bunnies anywhere. In some places people consider them as pests because they breed so quickly. We really want to encourage people to please do some research before getting bunnies because there are lots of misconceptions about them like they are easy pets, they good start pets for kids, they are cuddly and a cheap option. All those conceptions are actually the opposite, bunnies are highly intelligent and sensitive so they need space, training, enrichment and to bond with their humans,” adds Anabel and Michael.
Bunnies can also rack up quite a bill when it comes to care, diet and other expenses. The care that these little critters need is often too much for children as well. Many people realise too late how difficult it is to care for these animals and end up releasing them to be killed by cars, predators or starvation. The practice of releasing these animals into parks and fields is also illegal.
“It is a lot of work so kids won’t be able to care for them without parents help. Finally bunnies need to get sterilized even get same genders or only one because bunnies can get quite hormonal and territorial once the hormones kick in when they reach maturity.
“People also need to understand bunnies are domestic animals and like any pet they face so many dangers when they left outside. Bunnies can get ran over, kill by dogs or cats, predators like owls or genets can get them and on top of all of that they struggle to find food and water as well as shelter. Many of them won’t survive the first few months and they will face a very painful death,” they said.
Residents are being encouraged to surrender unwanted bunnies rather than release them.
“Our rescue is happy to help to re-home unwanted rabbits sharing in our page and making sure the bunny goes to the right home,” they added.
The Bunny Tales Rescue organisation takes in a number of bunnies in need and is always in need of support to give their furry friends the care they deserve.
You can donate using the banking details below:
Bunny Tales Rescue
First National Bank
Branch Code 201509
Account number 62529691992
Reference: FS+your name
Picture: Bunny Tales Rescue