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.”
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