Wild rabbits are becoming an increasing problem for the residents of Akureyri who fear that the ever-growing population is not only going to munch its way through produce in local gardens, but also do lasting damage to the local ecosystem, RÚV reports.
The rabbit population was centered in Kjarnaskógur forest to the south of Akureyri and has grown considerably in recent years. In fact, never have there been so many wild rabbits seen around summer cabins in the forest as there have this year. This has forced staff to take more and more precautions to protect plant life in the forest.
The rabbits have also been doing damage to the nearby campsite of Hamrar, digging holes, gnawing on tree bark, causing lasting damage to the trees, burrowing under buildings, and even managing to burrow under asphalt.
Rabbits have even been spotted further afield at a local container service company, but in this case, are suspected to be former pets (and offspring of said pets) who have been released in the area by owners who are no longer interested in bunny breeding.
Guðríður Friðriksdóttir, district manager of the City of Akureyri’s Environment and Construction Division, says that although upwards of 1,000 rabbits have been caught in the last three to four years (mostly over the winter), this has apparently not been enough to control the population. As such, the city is attempting to remove them as possible. However, this is a difficult operation to carry out in the summer, when there are lots of people in Kjarnaskógur forest. Therefore, the division is trying to strengthen its preventative measures and nip the spread of these creatures in the bud.
Guðríður remains unconvinced, however, that this will be enough. “I think it likely that we’ll need to make greater efforts in this matter.”