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'Poachers targeting Barnwood bunnies', residents claim

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 03, 2014

Are rabbits on the Walls roundabout being poached?

Comments (7)

BUNNIES on the Walls roundabout in Barnwood are facing a new threat - poachers, according to residents.

Jennifer Smith, who’s recently moved to Barnwood from Hucclecote, spotted suspicious activity on the famous island over the festive period.

She’s concerned the animals are being targeted by rabbit hunters.

She said: “It was quite early in the morning, I was on my way to the M&S shop at the garage on Christmas Eve to get some milk and I saw these three young men with nets and a ferret on the roundabout.

“I’m from the Forest of Dean originally and I’m familiar with the kind of thing they were doing.

“It was quite clear to me they were trying to poach the rabbits.

“I shouted at them ‘how many have you caught?’ and was invited, not very politely, to go away.

“They must have been quite determined because it’s difficult to get onto the roundabout. But I could see one of them had this beautiful white ferret on his shoulder.”

There have been concerns raised over recent months that the rabbits had died after sightings became increasingly rare.

But authorities insist that isn’t so and food for the bunnies continues to be dropped off there.

Police, the county council and Gloucester City Council all said they were unaware of any poaching going on there.

County wildlife enthusiast Frank Tunbridge, who has written childrens stories about the bunnies, said reports of poaching would answer why sightings have decreased.

“Maybe it’s because times are getting tough but I wouldn’t be surprised,” he said.

“I said at the time, when people were saying the rabbits had gone, that poachers could be the reason.

“It wouldn’t take long with nets and a ferret, maybe an hour, to clear the whole lot.”

He said he was made aware a few months ago of an anonymous phone call from someone saying ‘you want to know where the rabbits have gone? We’ve eaten them all’.

“I’ve been on the roundabout a few times, the last time was a few weeks ago when there was no evidence of rabbits there. But I take my son to Barnwood a couple of times a week and always look out for them,” he said. “I did spot a couple of them fairly recently, but I’m sure the numbers are down.”

Have you spotted the Barnwood Bunnies or any suspicious activity? Email citizen.news@glosmedia.co.uk

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  January 04 2014, 8:59PM

    The Night Poaching Act 1828 – Poaching by Night It is an offence, without permission and at night: to take or destroy any game or rabbits or to enter or be on any land with a gun, net or instrument for the purpose of taking or destroying game (does not include rabbits) or for the purpose of taking any game or rabbits, being 3 or more persons, and any one person being armed with a gun, club or other offensive weapon.

    |   -23
  • ArthurHoyle  |  January 04 2014, 3:14PM

    Citon is so right! Humans eat meat! The horrible creatures. Next thing you know they will start to breed animals especially to eat them! Watch a fox in a hen house Citon, and THEN see if you are talking sense!!!

  • FreeRadical1  |  January 04 2014, 2:47PM

    Citon, what exactly is cruel and heartless? Anyway, you're assuming that the report is true. There have been very few rabbits on that roundabout for absolutely ages because they were practically wiped out by myxomatosis. The introduction of myxomatosis is genuinely cruel and heartless because it is a terrible disease, but the eating of wild rabbits is neither cruel nor heartless. Poaching is a criminal offence, but that's another matter.

  • NibNobs  |  January 03 2014, 10:20PM

    Jenifer has recently moved to Barnwood from Hucclecote.....I wouldn't know where one ends and the other one starts!

  • citon  |  January 03 2014, 10:20PM

    People really disappoint me at times. Humans really are the most cruel and heartless species on the planet.

  • Kay_Powell  |  January 03 2014, 9:13PM

    This illegal activity was reported to the police at the time, was it? If not, why not? Or can Jennifer Smith report wildlife crime to the Citizen but not the police?

    |   -17
  • GlosAnarchy  |  January 03 2014, 5:43PM

    I saw a big cat down there the other day reading a copy of Frank's book to the bunnies!

    |   -19