From Iceland — Reykjavík Seeks To Tackle Rabbit Infestation Problem

Reykjavík Seeks To Tackle Rabbit Infestation Problem

Published October 28, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Ragna Ó. Guðmundsdóttir/Art Bicnick

The City of Reykjavík is now looking for ways to best deal with the large feral rabbit population in the Elliðaárdal area of the city.

Vísir reports that amongst the ideas the city is considering is a ban on feeding these rabbits, and setting up special “rabbit crossing” signs along bike paths. This latter idea is pertinent to a recent incident wherein a biker collided with a rabbit, hospitalising the biker in question.

One other idea that has come up is to grant hunting permits against the rabbits in the area. This idea has one snag: by Icelandic law, rabbits are protected and may not be hunted. Any such hunting permit would therefore necessitate changing the existing law, or granting an exception to it.

Iceland’s current rabbit population descends, for the most part, from pet rabbits which were released in the Elliðaárdal area of Reykjavík in 2010. In 2011, rabbits bounded onto a Reykjavík highway, causing a three-car pile up. By 2012, rabbits were plaguing farms in south Iceland, as they burrowed into hay bales intended for animal feed, leaving waste inside them. In 2013, Reykjavík made the decision to look into what options were available to deal with the rabbit issue.

For now, feral rabbits continue to dominate Elliðaárdal, surviving due to milder winters and thriving without impedance the rest of the year. Those biking in the area are advised to watch their speed and keep their eyes peeled.

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