Archives for March 2009

Kick the Easter Bunny Habit?

Kick the Easter Rabbit HabitEach year there are a variety of efforts to dissuade people from taking rabbits as pets around Easter.

So, I pondered the issue and thought that a good replacement activity would be to teach people to support the conservation efforts of endangered rabbit species.

Indigenous rabbits are important to the ecosystem but releasing rabbits into the wild means that non-native species pose a danger to the ecosystem they are released into.

In fact, rabbits as an invasive species have created severe problems on Maritius, in Australia and in many other locations.

Check out this invasive species list (PDF).

Rabbits are a sensitive sort and some of the most endangered species of rabbits include:

Rabbits are know as lagomorphs and National Geographic did a nice summary on Easter Icon Survival Woes a few years ago.

The decreasing numbers of any species usually have alarming impacts most people miss.

For instance the European rabbit population threatens the Critically Endangered Iberian Lynx and the Spanish Imperial Eagle since both predators rely on the lagomorph species.

From the IUCN:
The European Rabbit (
Oryctolagus cuniculus) was introduced to Western Europe by man as early as the Roman period, and since then to South America and Australasia. Only Spain, Portugal and areas of North Africa are its native homeland.

Ironically, it is from these areas that over-hunting, habitat loss and eradication programmes have combined with two diseases (Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Virus), to threaten the European Rabbit’s very existence. The survival of the Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus) and Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aquila adalberti) are pivotal on the success of the rabbit, which is a main source of prey for these emblematic predators.

In the 2008 update of The IUCN Red List the conservation status of the European Rabbit was uplisted to Near Threatened across the whole of its native range.

“It is hoped that these reclassifications can help pressure governments and conservation organisations to do more to conserve the species, and also help change the view of rabbits from being predominantly a pest to also being a vitally important component of native ecosystems.” Dan Ward, spokesperson for SOS Lynx

People sometimes miss just how important some species are and how other animals are dependent on the them.

I’ve been fortunate to work with a variety of endangered species–and while I was at the Durrell Trust I was able to work with the volcano rabbit which is found on only four Volcanic hillsides in Mexico.

The problem with many species is that they are difficult to conserve and to breed in captivity–and the volcano rabbit was no exception.

What can you do?

It is hard to locate specific conservation program to support but I always encourage that action.

Other Rabbit Stuff to Explore

World Lagomorph Society

USDA National Agriculture Library Rabbit Links (Care, Farming, Welfare, and more)

World Rabbit Science Association (related to rabbit farming and produces the World Rabbit Journal)

Rabbit Journals (also related to commercial interests)

Do you have a rabbit conservation source you can recommend? If so, leave your comment below.


Easter Bunny by Mary Brandolino

Easter Bunny


Easter Bunny illustrates that Easter is not fun for a real bun. Three out of 10 rabbits purchased on impulse die because people are not prepared about how to care for them.

Another Easter is around the corner and many live Easter chicks and Easter rabbits will meet a sad demise.

Started in 2003, the Make Mine Chocolate is a great campaign but I just found out that it is in need of volunteers to help–volunteer if you can. In the meantime the campaign is on autopilot for 2009.

Even so, it is my belief that people should make the only Easter bunny they get or give a chocolate one (or plush is good)–and get those fake cute little chicks instead of real ones.

What can you do to make 2009 an animal friendly Easter?

Share the House Rabbit Society’s information on the housing and care needs of rabbits and learn why Easter Bunnies are a bad idea.

This Easter Bunny poem by Mary Brandolino is something you can give to your friends and share with those who mistakenly think a bunny is a good Easter gift. (It is courtesy of the House Rabbit Society.)

I remember Easter Sunday

It was colorful and fun

The new life that I’d begun

In my new cage.

I was just a little thing

When they brought me from the store

And they put me on the floor

In my cage.

They would take me out to play

Love and pet me all the time

Then at day’s end I would climb

In my cage.

But as days and weeks went by

I saw less of them it seemed

Of their loving touch I dreamed

In my cage.

In the night outside their house

I felt sad and so neglected

Often scared and unprotected

In my cage.

In the dry or rainy weather

Sometimes hotter sometimes colder

I just sat there growing older

In my cage.

The cat and dog raced by me

Playing with each other only

While I sat there feeling lonely

In my cage.

Upon the fresh green grass

Children skipped and laughed all day

I could only watch them play

From my cage.

They used to take me out

And let me scamper in the sun

I no longer get to run

In my cage.

Once a cute and cuddly bunny

Like a little ball of cotton

Now I’m grown up and forgotten

In my cage.

I don’t know what went wrong

At the home I did inhabit

I just grew to be a rabbit

In my cage.

But they’ve brought me to the pound

I was once loved and enjoyed

Now I wait to be destroyed

In my cage.

Finally, don’t forget to read my Easter Holiday Pet Safety Tips or see my rant with useful links from last years Easter Chicks & Other Easter Traditions.