Rab­bits hitch a ride to es­cape New Zealand flood­wa­ter

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

WELLING­TON, New Zealand — Three wild rab­bits man­aged to es­cape ris­ing flood­wa­ters in New Zealand by clam­ber­ing aboard a flock of sheep and surf­ing to safety on their woolly backs.

Ferg Horne, 64, says he’s been farm­ing since he left school at age 15 and has never seen any­thing quite like it.

He was trudg­ing through pelt­ing rain to res­cue a neigh­bor’s 40 sheep from the flood­wa­ters on Satur­day at their South Is­land farm near Dunedin when he spot­ted some dark shapes from a dis­tance.

He was puz­zled be­cause he knew his neigh­bor, who was away in Rus­sia at­tend­ing a nephew’s wed­ding, didn’t have any black-faced sheep. As he got closer, he thought it might be de­bris from the storm, which had drenched the area and forced Horne to evac­u­ate his home.

Then he saw the bedrag­gled rab­bits hitch­ing a ride — two on one sheep and a third on an­other.

“I couldn’t be­lieve it for a start,” he said.

No­body else would be­lieve him ei­ther with­out proof, he thought, so he got out his phone to take a pho­to­graph, an im­age he fig­ured his grand­chil­dren would en­joy. In fact, he in­ad­ver­tently shot a short video.

“It’s a Sam­sung or a smart­phone or what­ever you call it. I swear at it ev­ery day,” he said. “I’m ab­so­lutely use­less with tech­nol­ogy.”

Nev­er­the­less, Horne man- aged to cap­ture the mo­ment. He said the sheep were hud­dled to­gether on a high spot on the farm, stand­ing in about 8 cen­time­ters of wa­ter.

He said the rab­bits looked like they’d got­ten wet but seemed quite com­fort­able and re­laxed mounts.

He said the rab­bits ap­peared to cling onto the wool with their paws. As they ap­proached higher ground, the rab­bits fell off but climbed a hedge to safety.

Rab­bits are con­sid­ered a pest to farm­ers in New Zealand and Horne said that when he sees one he usu­ally shoots it.

“But they’d showed so much ini­tia­tive, I thought they de­served to live,” he said.

He then sent his video to his son, who sent im­ages to the lo­cal news­pa­per and posted them on Face­book.

“From then on it’s just gone crazy,” Horne said. atop their


Three rab­bits sit on the back of sheep as they avoid ris­ing flood­wa­ters on July 22 at a farm in New Zealand’s South Is­land.

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