Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Danish Rabbit Hopping

A video for the 2010 Danish Rabbit Hopping Competition is make the rounds in cyberspace. It even jumped on to Cute Overload. I particularly enjoyed the little pep talks the humans were giving their bunnies between jumps. Rabbits are naturals for this sport that started in the 1970's in Europe. A Danish rabbit is the current world record holder with a jump of 39 inches high and 10 feet long. Breeds like Dutch, English Spot and Belgian Hares make great jumpers, but any mixed breed can learn and excel. The Danish video features a couple of lop breed rabbits. Rabbit Agility hasn't caught on in the US like it has in Europe, but there are several people who enjoy it, and a book on the subject. It's a little like horse show jumping, but the "cute factor" is much higher.

On the Wild Side in Bangladesh

I was intrigued this morning by a small news article out of Dhaka, Bangladesh about three rare “black-nape rabbits” released into the Bhaowal National Park, three days after they were caught by fishermen. There are about 50 species of rabbits and hares that are known to exist in the world. Apparently, the black-nape "rabbits" are hares. In fact, they are the Indian Hare (Lepus nigricollis), also known as the Black-naped Hare. These hares are facing extinction in Bangladesh where they are hunted and losing forest habitat. Tapan Kumar Dey, forest conservator (Wildlife and Nature Conservation Circle) of the Forest Directorate, freed the rabbits. He said “"It is the high time to save the rabbits. Otherwise the species will be eliminated from our country. Raising of mass awareness is necessary to preserve them.” See the photo above of the Black-Naped Hare and it is obvious how these lagomorphs got their common name.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The White Rabbit of Inaba

Wendy from LA who was in Japan recently sent me this photo from Tottoro near Hakuto Beach. A house rabbit fan herself; she said she enjoyed all the rabbit statues in the area. The story goes a white rabbit lived near the Hakuto Beach. When a flood washed the rabbit out to sea he asked the sharks to help him. He hopped from the back of one to the next until the sharks became angry and attacked him. First, some men who passed by the rabbit told him to bathe in the sea to heal his wounds, but it caused more pain. Then Daikoku-sama, the brother of the men passed by and told the rabbit to “Wash your body with fresh water and roll on the fluff of cattails”. The white rabbit followed his advice and was cured. Hakuto Beach is the setting for the story and it is recorded in Japan’s oldest written records. Domo Arigato Wendy!

New York Lottery Hits Jackpot with Bunnies

Several people have steered me over to Youtube to watch the ad featuring rabbits in a New York Lottery commercial. Wow, there are bunnies in it. Lots of them dressed up in some fairly uncomfortable outfits. Plus, they get to sit in odd positions for lagomorphs the like spinning teacups props at a staged fair scene. The ad is part of a series including kittens, baby pigs, etc. Cute, but then I'm not so sure the rabbits are convinced about the costuming. See the ad at the link above.

Newspaper Features Articles on Therapy Rabbits and Rabbit Sausage Pizza on Same Day – What?

There was a wonderful article published today in the New York Post online about Maria Grieco and her two therapy rabbits Tosca and Rinucco. The rabbits featured in the story (especially people friendly Tosca) helps elderly folks and even stressed students relax. Plus, it emphasized how Grieco receives the benefits of pet therapy at home, as well because her bunnies “suit my temperament. They’re gentle, quiet creatures.” It also talked about how Grieco loves to watch her rabbits snuggle together “ cheek to cheek, silently enjoying each other’s company. I think there’s a lesson in that for all of us.”
On the same day the New York Post also posted a photo article about a Ricotta, zucchini, squash blossom and rabbit sausage pizza from Colicchio & Sons, 85 10th Ave. in New York.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thump on the Head to Opportunistic Writer & Reality Show Wannabe

Warning this blog entry is about cruelty to rabbits. There is a new book out I am going to skip reading. It is “My Empire of Dirt: How One Man Turned His Big-City Backyard into a Farm (Scribner). This is clearly a book deal gimmick. Manny Howard manages to have a farm in his Brooklyn backyard from March to August and in the process paralyzes and eats a pregnant rabbit. He has made the rounds on TV and has had several articles written about his attempt at “urban farming.” This experiment was grossly inhumane. He described the rabbit “growling” at him when he was cleaning the hutch. Obviously, he did not educate himself in the least on the behavior of the animals he purchased for his so-called "farm." Of course, rabbits and especially a pregnant female rabbit will grunt and lunge when threatened. Apparently, Mr. Howard feels his ignorance makes for amusing reading. In an interview with Elle Magazine he was asked if he was still freelancing and he responded: “Yes, I am, but later in the week I’m going to pitch my TV agent another wacky reality show that involves me doing stupid *%$#*.” So it seems he is willing to do whatever is necessary to get a book deal or TV show including hitting a female rabbit with a dust pan until she is paralyzed and then having her for dinner. This is not an "Empire of Dirt" - it is a dirty business.

Wild Baby Bunny Basil

I get a lot of emails about wild cottontails that are injured or orphaned every summer season. This summer was no different. Most of these babies don’t thrive unless a wildlife rehabilitator can provide help. This season was no different and then I heard from a lady in Omaha. Her name is Kimberly and she rescued a cottontail after it was injured by a dog in her garden. The bunny was only 2 days old and left crying and bleeding. She had helped the baby bunny survive two weeks. I gave her links to the wildlife rehabilitator directory and the House Rabbit Society page on orphaned baby bunnies. Plus, I offered her a bit of advice and encouragement. Well, it seems she is a natural at this since her rescued baby bunny who she calls “Basil” is doing well so far. His hair has grown in and he is gaining weight. She plans to release him when he is weaned and strong enough. The photo above is of Basil and I would say Kimberly has certainly given him a good start. Love those little elfin ears!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bunny World Foundation Takes on Black Market Rabbits

The baby bunnies are just barely old enough to open their eyes and yet illegal vendors are selling them in the Fashion District in Los Angeles. Fortunately, there is Lejla Hadzimuatovic, founder of the Bunny World Foundation to the rescue. She has taken in approximately 800 baby bunnies confiscated by police primarily in downtown LA in Santee Alley over the past two years. Here is a recent video of a profile for the BWF by KBAC TV Eyewitness News in Los Angeles.

Zoning Issues for Rabbit Rescue in Georgia

The House Rabbit Society North Georgia Chapter is seeking a temporary land use permit to continue operating out of the house zoned residential instead of moving where it is zoned commercial. According to the article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the rabbit rescue group is doing what they can to compromise on sales of rabbit food and supplies, holding meetings away from the house and having rescue visits by appointment only. Sounds like they are really doing what they can to be good neighbors. The article quoted a 17 year homeowner in the neighborhood who supports the group as saying, "The bottomline is if the [rescue] is removed and the property is unoccupied, with the state of the real estate market, it could remain that way for a long time. The letter of the law and the good of the community are not always the same." This makes sense because the house was a vacant foreclosure before the rabbit rescue group purchased the house and renovated it. They did a nice job, too!

Rabbits Keeping Their Paws Above Water

An Australian newspaper published an article about the recent rain that has saturated a parched land and raising water levels in Lake Keepit, near Tamworth in northwest NSW, Australia. Farmers are happy, but this colony of rabbits is stranded on an outcropping of rocks and sharing it with seagulls. A rescue attempt was unsuccessful since boats couldn't get in close enough due to the boulders just under the surface of the water. Both domesticated and cottontails can swim if it means life or death. These are European rabbits introduced to Australia. The most famous swimming rabbit is the Swamp Rabbit (Sylvilagus aquaticus), a large cottontail found in the southeastern USA. It's very well suited for swimming. In fact, it's the breed of rabbit that infamously chased former President Jimmy Carter in his boat several years ago. It's going to keep raining according to forecasters in Australia. The rabbits will eventually have to get their paws wet and swim for dryland. Photo credit: Peter Lorimer, The Daily Telegraph.

Bunny Berlin Wall

Check out this amazing street art in Berlin - a wall of white rabbits!

Hare Today Maybe Gone Tomorrow in Houston

In Houston Texas a woman found out her home could be considered a "hutch" because she kept three rabbits in her home. Not kidding. The woman received three tickets - one for each of her pet rabbits. It's perfectly legal according to a 1968 city ordinance. According to the article in the Houston Chronicle newspaper "A 1968 city ordinance prohibits rabbits being housed within 100 feet of the nearest residence, restaurant, church, school or other human habitation, said Christopher Newport, spokesman for Houston's Bureau of Animal Control and Regulation. The code means that if you keep a rabbit in your home, the house is considered a rabbit hutch, and it must be at least 100 feet from your neighbor's."
Fortunately, Newport also realizes the law is outdated and the citation was an isolated incident, and Section 6-32 on rabbits, guinea pigs and fowl is under review along with other animal-control ordinances. They will present proposed changes to Houston City Council within three months. In the meantime, Les Wood, president of Bunny Buddies, says change is needed immediately because the ordinance impacts the rabbit rescue group's effort to find homes for animals abandoned at shelters.
Photo Credit: Damian Dovarganes AP

Sunday, August 1, 2010

San Juan Island Bunny Battle

San Juan Island which is part of the San Juan Island archipelago in northern Washington State, and a popular recreational area known for kayaking and sailing has a bunny battle brewing among the National Parks Service and locals. The National Parks Service believes the rabbits are damaging delicate habitat and there are many locals who believe the rabbits are now natives. They are European Rabbits brought to San Juan Island about 100 years ago and released by farmers as a food source. The Park officials have drafted a plan that is causing a fair amount of protest. The plans call for the NPS to hire a contractor to hunt the rabbits with small caliber weapons and leg hold traps (no teeth). Newspapers and TV news in Seattle have reported on the heated debates about the plan in meetings held to discuss the rabbits’ future.
There has been a reasonable and humane alternative suggested for the American Camp rabbits. According to a Seattle PI article, Sandi Ackerman of Rabbit Meadows Feral Rabbit Sanctuary in Seattle said the American Camp rabbits could be trapped, neutered and released back into the wild; or trapped, neutered and relocated to the sanctuary. Plus, sensitive areas could be protected with rabbit fences. Sounds like a plan to me.

University of Victoria Rabbits may have Hoppy Ending

The British Columbia Supreme Court issued an injunction to stop the University of Victoria from its planned rabbit cull. In June the university released a plan that would have 1,400 rabbits killed or sterilized and relocated to sanctuaries. Animal activist Roslyn Cassells successfully went to court to prevent the cull, and the injunction is in effect for about another month. This will hopefully allow time to get the permits.
Here is what is hoppening to save the rabbits:
The Wild Rose Rescue Ranch rehabilitation farm in eastern Texas has offered to take 1,000 of the rabbits. It’s a long way from home, but certainly better than the alternative.
Susan Vickery, of Common Ground, a Gulf Islands-based wildlife assistance organization is also trying to get permits for a new sanctuary at the World Parrot Refuge near Coombs, B.C. Refuge owner Wendy Huntbatch has agreed to allow a space for up to 400 spayed and neutered UVic rabbits.
A vegan bake sale organized by Liberation BC last Wednesday night raised over $8,300 to spay neuter and relocate UVic rabbits. 40 bakers contributed baked goods and hundreds of people came out in support of the fundraiser.
A $50,000 donation from the Fur-Bearer Defenders will pay for spaying and neutering all rabbits trapped, and 14 local veterinarians have been lined up.