The letter titled “Please help the bunnies on Rabbit Island” by Miah in the Aug. 25 issue moved me. First and foremost, Miah, how considerate you are to care about the rabbits. In fact, I had a Lionhead rabbit named Ringo (Apple in Japanese) 10 years ago, so your story brought back sweet memories. Hence, I understand well your concern.
Rabbit Island (Okunoshima in Hiroshima Prefecture) is now a popular tourist destination. Despite the rapid expansion of the tourism industry and its benefit to the economy, there is a dark side for the rodent inhabitants of the island. Now they don’t know how to look for food and water by themselves, relying instead on being fed by visitors. As a result, they’re suffering ill health.
To address the problem, the silent residents should have more protection. As Miah said, constant financial aid is absolutely necessary. Stricter rules and penalties should be established by the municipal government, with veterinarians taking care of the sick and injured rabbits. Indeed, the help that private organizations can provide is limited, so both Takehara (the city with jurisdiction over Okunoshima) and Hiroshima Prefecture should work together and provide more funding for the effort. Also, the rabbits should be spayed or neutered to prevent proliferation.
Tourists should observe rules there with modesty, because they are just strangers. They don’t have the right to disturb the local flora and fauna. Keep in mind that “When in Okunoshima, do as the residents do.” Of course, you don’t have to follow the bunnies and change your diet from carnivorous to herbivorous!
Now, Miah, let’s continue addressing this issue, shall we?
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.