Wildlife

Easter Bunny Hunt

New Zealand hunters resumed their annual tradition of shooting thousands of invasive bunny rabbits over the Easter weekend after a four-year break in the slaughter. The fundraising event was launched more than 25 years ago with teams gathering from across the country.

Organizers say a total of 11,968 rabbits were shot, but they concede the cull isn’t expected to make much of a dent in the massive bunny population. The animals were brought to New Zealand in the 1800s and quickly overran the landscape, ravaging the native biodiversity and agriculture.

EWCOLOR

Eagles Recover in USA

America’s iconic bald eagles have recovered from the brink of extinction brought on by the once-widespread use of the pesticide DDT half a century ago. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the national symbol now numbers nearly 317,000 individual birds with an estimated 74,400 nesting pairs.

Only about 417 pairs had survived by 1963 because of the eggshell-thinning phenomenon caused by the now-banned DDT. Martha Williams, deputy director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, called the recovery “one of the most well-known conservation success stories of all time.” She says she hopes all Americans get the chance to see at least one majestic bald eagle in flight.

Wildlife

A new deadly virus spreading among US rabbit population

Humans aren’t the only ones facing a pandemic — rabbits across the U.S. are currently battling a deadly disease outbreak of their own. The virus has spread to at least six states, threatening to completely wipe out the country’s wild rabbit population.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease virus type 2 (RHDV-2) spreads quickly and is highly lethal, with the latest outbreak originating in New Mexico. According to the wildlife officials, the virus is not a coronavirus, but rather a calicivirus, and does not affect humans or animals other than rabbits, hares and possibly pikas.

Rabbits may experience fever, swelling, internal bleeding, lack of appetite and liver failure, or they may suddenly die without exhibiting any symptoms, officials say.