Sixty rabbits that were caught in the Elliðaárdalur valley on the east side of Reykjavík need furever homes, Vísir reports, but the process has been slow as there doesn’t seem to be much demand around the city for pet bunnies. Rabbit rescue organizer Gréta Sóley Sigurðardóttir says the project’s primary focus is catching and rehoming domesticated rabbits that are not suited for survival in the wild. Four of the 60 rabbits currently being kept in a temporary shelter are former pet rabbits that were released in the valley by owners who no longer wanted them.
“As it stands, we’re not taking in [as many rabbits] as we were in the beginning,” explained Gréta Sóley. “We’re mainly focused on pet rabbits that are tossed out because they don’t survive long after they’ve been released and then we also watch out for those that are wounded or injured because it’s urgent in those cases to bring them in.”
Since the fall, Villikanínur, a rescue that focuses solely on catching and rehoming these so-called “wild” rabbits, has been working with the Dýrahjálp Íslands animal shelter and the city’s Dýrahald animal services organization to catch many of the 150 – 200 rabbits currently living in Elliðaárdalur. Though rabbit owners might think they are setting their former pets free in a hospitable environment, Villikanínur notes that unfortunately, most of these domesticated rabbits “aren’t as free and living their best life as many people think,” as “they are not made for Icelandic winter.”
Most of the rescued rabbits are being housed in a shelter that was made available to the project organizers on a temporary basis. But until some of them are found homes or short-term fosters, few of their bunny buddies still living in the wild can be taken in.
If you’re interested in adopting or fostering a rescued rabbit, check the Dýrahjálp website or follow Villikanínur on Instagram. You can also donate to the rescue, which is entirely volunteer-run, uses all donations for veterinary expenses, and hopes to one day open a “bunny rescue center where people can bring their bunny instead of letting them go ‘free’” as well as a permanent shelter in Elliðaárdalur where the rabbits can “come inside and stay warm and have enough hay, pallets, and water.”