Robben Island’s bunny chow solution
ROBBEN Island’s culled rabbits are going to be turned into meals for poor people, island acting chief executive Jatti Bredekamp said yesterday.
He also said initial estimates of rabbit numbers – put at as many as 25 000 – appeared to have been overstated.
Just over 2 000 rabbits have been shot by marksmen since culling started a month ago, and until now the carcasses have been buried on the island.
However, Bredekamp said, from Monday all culled rabbits certified safe for human consumption would be “dressed and packaged for donation to charity”.
Rabbits, commonly eaten in many European countries, yield an all-white meat, said to be higher in protein and lower in cholesterol and sodium than any other meat.
Bredekamp said a task team consisting of museum authorities, its animal control expert and the SPCA met this week to discuss progress in the culling. It had been decided another animal population census would be conducted.
“The initial plan made provision for worst-case scenarios regarding animal numbers which, it would appear, were overstated,” Bredekamp said.
The 475-hectare island’s vegetation has been ravaged by thou- sands of rabbits and around 500 deer, both of them alien species.
Bredekamp said 175 fallow deer had been shot so far, and 21 feral cats, of which about five remained.
The SPCA had offered to trap and find homes for 100 of the flock of 500 free-ranging guinea fowl.
Island environmental officials said in September the rabbits and deer had stripped virtually all the island’s edible vegetation.
They said the cats were on the hit list because they ate the chicks of penguins, the swift tern, Hartlaub’s gull, the threatened oystercatcher, and of the highly endangered bank cor morant. – Sapa