LaMa, you do not stand alone!
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Environmentalists want Easter kiwi hopping down trail
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Reuters)—A New Zealand environmental body is targeting the Easter bunny in a renewed war against one of the country’s worst natural pests.
Environment Canterbury on the country’s South Island wants people to come up with an alternative Easter symbol as part of a campaign to highlight the damage caused by the non-native pest.
“They’re like an environmental curse,” Mark Oldfield of Environment Canterbury said.
“We did have a similar competition a number of years ago and we came up with the Easter Kiwi,” Oldfield said, referring to the flightless bird that is the country’s national bird.
Rabbits were introduced in the late 19th century for a fur trade that never got established, but they bred at such a rate that they infested large parts throughout the country, eating sparse vegetation and causing widespread erosion.
A virus that causes the rabbits to bleed to death was introduced illegally in 1997, significantly cutting numbers, but Oldfield said some rabbits were building immunity.
Local authorities in New Zealand spent tens of millions of dollars in poisoning and shooting campaigns to control rabbits before the introduction of the virus in 1997.
The rabbit as an Easter symbol seems to have its origins in Germany, where it was first mentioned in writings in the 1500s.
But the kiwi, the size of a large chicken, appears to be a more fitting Easter icon as it lays a huge egg that is six times as big as normal for a bird its size.