Regional water company PWN is going to stock the coastal dunes at Castricum in Noord-Holland province with wild rabbits to boost the natural environment and restore traditional habitats.
Rabbits are important because they keep pests like the American black cherry from proliferating while their fondness for digging holes also provides birds with a place to breed.
However, the population has been all but wiped out following outbreaks of viruses, such as myxomatosis. Rabbits were added to the red list of endangered mammals in 2020.
‘The area where they will be released is poor in nutrition and vegetation but rabbits can deal with that. Their presence will create new habitats for other plants and animals,’ warden Véronique Meurs told NH Nieuws.
The rabbits, wild animals that were brought to shelters earlier, are being kept in enclosures in the dunes to acclimatise prior to their release and have been checked for diseases and vaccinated against the most common ones.
The vaccines protects the rabbit for a year during which it is hoped they will be proliferating into a more resilient population.
The idea to release wild rabbits into areas where there are none comes from France where 60% of the rabbits survive.
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