2 000 Benoni Bunny Park rabbits to become zoo food

More than 750 sterilised rabbits have been sent to their new homes.

More than 2 000 rabbits at Benoni Bunny Park will be donated to Johannesburg Zoo as food for carnivores, Kempton Express reports.

The municipality plans to leave only 50 sterilised rabbits homed in separate enclosures.

The excessive number of rabbits in the park has presented various challenges, such as lack of control over the population growth, which leads to inbreeding and decline in intrinsic immunity, resulting in the outbreak of disease and high parasite loads, metro spokesperson Themba Gadebe said.

“While the practice of free-roaming rabbits at the bunny park is an inherited and accepted management practice, it has however, became an increasing concern to animal rights organisations in recent years, especially in relation to inbreeding. We have decided that from a zoological point of view, this is no longer the best practice,” Gadebe said.

The City’s policy on the keeping of livestock makes provision for the disposal of excess livestock through a number of ways, including selling the excess animals and donation of animals.

READ MORE: Donating Benoni bunnies to a zoo may be the only option

Already, 750 rabbits were sterilised at the cost of R300 000 and sent to new homes; and despite this costly exercise, an estimated 2 000 rabbits remain in the park, and it would not be financially viable to attempt to sterilise them all.

Having rabbits in the enclosure will also help the municipality’s plans to plant pastures without rabbits eating them. The overpopulation has caused severe damage to the land and decimated the flora of the park, according to Gadebe.

The city is in process of upgrading the park at the cost of R7 million in the 2015/16 and 2017/18 financial years.

Currently the city has dredged all the dams in the park, did a lot of internal fencing and installed some of the irrigation. The next phase includes planting of pastures, expanding the irrigation system and upgrading the animal shelters.


Donating Benoni bunnies to a zoo may be the only option

– Caxton News Service

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