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    Thousands of rabbits on the Isle of Canna are to be culled

    NewsRabbits and bunniesThursday 24 October 2013
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    Thousands of rabbits on the Isle of Canna just next to Scotland are going to be culled due to the problems they are causing to the landscape and environment of the small Hebridean island.

    Authorities decided enough was enough when the rabbits burrowed so much that it caused a major landside on the island. A road was closed for days and needed specialist machinery and workmen send from the mainland to fix the problem.

    Other problems the rabbits are causing include digging up human remains in a graveyard, causing havoc in islander’s gardeners and bringing down walls and damaging archaeological sites.

    The island’s owners, the National Trust for Scotland are now thinking of ways to reduce the population of an estimated 16,000 rabbits in what is one of the largest culls ever undertaken. They are under strict obligations to make the culling humane and this could include a technique of trapping and gassing.

    It is not the first time Canna have faced rabbit problems. A few years ago the population was down to 2,000 however because there are a lack of predators on the island, the rabbits do what rabbits do and breed.

    There are 1,000 rabbits for every person on the island which is extraordinary because the island only has 12 people.

    Islander Winnie Mackinnon said that 'The rabbits are the worst I've known them in my 51 years here,'

    'They are digging up the graveyard and there dragging out the bones. It is sad to see. They are everywhere - causing stone walls to collapse by burrowing under the foundations as well as damaging our archaeological sites.

    'Something has to be done - they are basically eating away the island. A lot of rabbit pie is being eaten but you cannot keep up with them.

    'The sea eagles feed on them but it does not stop the rabbits increasing. Something has to be done to control them and urgently.'

    The island of Canna has had problems before but with rats however after spending £600,000 and bringing in specialists from 11,000 miles away the last rat was seen seven years ago. This however has let to the rabbit population to boom.

    A spokesperson for the National Trust of Scotland said that 'We recognise that the population has reached a particularly high level and are causing serious problems. That is why we have decided to act.

    'We are about to go out to tender for a contractor to undertake control work on the island imminently, with the hope that much of this could be carried out before the end of the year.

    'The overall plan is to get the population down to manageable and sustainable levels. The cull will reduce the population drastically. We cannot disclose the cost at this stage but it will amount to thousands of pounds.'

    John Brady who works for the charity One Kind said that 'We believe that culling wild animals because their behaviour is inconvenient or causing a nuisance is a vastly disproportionate response and we would urge the NTS to consider non-lethal and humane management techniques as an alternative to the proposed cull.'

     

     

    Source: BBC

    Photo: Geograph

     

     

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