For the first time ever, rabbits have been listed as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, or IUCN and the WWF has asked the central government to organise a working group to address the situation.
“Diseases, such as myxomatosis and viral haemorrhage and feral cats have caused the death of 95% of the rabbit population in Majorca in recent years,” says the Insular Director of Cooperació Local i Caça, Jaume Tomàs.
For the last four years, 200 rabbits a year have been given to 11 farms across the island by the Cinegètic Centre of the Consell de Mallorca in Capocorb, in Llucmajor as part of a restocking program.
“The project appears to be working quite well, but it’s insufficient due to the high mortality of rabbits, so we are awaiting EU guidelines or instructions, but cannot rule out hunting restrictions,” said Tomàs.
Currently, a half-ban opens on June 15 for hunting with dogs, and from August 15 until December 31, an entire ban opens which includes hunting with shotguns and rabbit hunting is only allowed on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
“The situation is very worrying, rabbits have practically disappeared from some areas, with only one specimen detected per hectare, although in other areas two dozen can be seen which is heartening,” said Tomàs.
The Consell program implies that owners and hunters agree not to capture rabbits in the repopulated area for at least a year.