Proliferating rabbits are causing controversy in Whidbey Island’s Langley — a problem Seattle previously became all too familiar with.
A bunny brouhaha has been brewing for some time in Langley, Island County. As KING 5 reports, proliferating rabbits have overrun the Whidbey Island town. Residents are ready for action.
“It’s got to stop. It’s not cute anymore,” Langley resident Fran Johnson told the TV station. She’s tired of them chewing through her garden.
Johnson recalled, with a hint of envy, how her father’s generation would have handled the situation:
“You put them in a gunnysack and throw them off the dock. That’s not going to go over too good with too many people,” she said.
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Langley residents are split on how to deal with the reproducing rabbits, who are digging up yards and even a middle-school football field. The South Whidbey Record reports some residents are feeding and sheltering the rabbits. Others support eradicating them, perhaps calling on raptors to kill the furry intruders.
One resident, so frustrated by the bunnies, shot at them with an air-powered gun, the newspaper reports, which led to a criminal charge.
At a Langley community meeting Tuesday, residents talked over their options. KING 5 reports they found common ground and could be nearing a rabbit resolution.
Langley isn’t the first Washington community to deal with this issue.
“Every few years the population of domesticated rabbits explodes in many city parks and ‘wild’ areas around urban centers, due to released or abandoned pet rabbits breeding,” according to the Washington Department of Wildlife website.
Some may remember the rabbit infestation of 2005 in Seattle’s Woodland and Green Lake parks, which likely began when pet owners abandoned their rabbits outdoors.
The bunny population in the area soared to about 500. They munched their way through public gardens, invaded the zoo and left holes across the area.
But they didn’t fare well in the wild. Many were attacked by other animals or abused by people.
One Green Lake resident who rescued two feral rabbits said he had seen so many dead rabbits around the lake, he no longer jogged there because it was too upsetting.
Officials that winter decided to trap, sterilize and relocate the animals to a rabbit sanctuary in Redmond.
That effort went poorly. Just 48 rabbits were captured and sent to Magnuson Park temporarily, but had to be removed because the federal Drug Enforcement Agency was conducting drug-bust drills there, disturbing the animals. The program was put on hold.
Eventually, the rabbits were taken to an animal sanctuary near Sequim, according to KIRO-TV.