DUBAI // Traps have been set to nab a warren of rabbits who are nibbling, digging and burrowing into the lush landscaped gardens of an exclusive villa community.
Complaints from people living in the beachfront Canal Cove villas located on the fronds of the Palm Jumeirah prompted the developer Nakheel to put out cages and traps earlier this week to snare the dozens of rabbits. The company reassured residents the bunnies would not be harmed when caught.
Pest control experts believe the animals may have escaped from a nearby property and have made their home in the island’s gardens and common areas.
In a notice to residents, Nakheel said: “In order for this process to be as effective as possible, we urge residents to resist tampering with the cages once the animals are inside.”
The traps were first set in Canal Cove and will be soon be extended to other affected areas.
The exercise involves “enticing the rabbits into cages before handing the animals over to the Dubai Municipality”, a Nakheel spokesman said.
“The rabbits will not be harmed in the process. Municipality guidelines will be fully adhered to throughout this exercise.”
The developer said it was responding to calls from a number of residents who expressed concerns about rabbits running loose and damaging green areas.
In the past, other villa communities in Dubai have reported ant infestations, threats from poisonous spiders and snakes. But rabbits loose on the Palm Jumeirah are a first.
Pest control experts said rodents were more common and a rabbit infestation was unusual in the emirate. Dubai Municipality said it would check for more information.
The villas on the Palm have large community gardens and swimming pools with the hungry mammals likely to be nibbling on plants and bushes, spelling disaster for the manicured landscaping.
“Rabbits are not considered pests because unlike rats, they do not spread disease, so they cannot be killed,” said Dinesh Ramachandran, technical manager of National Pest Control that works on other projects on the Palm.
“There are rodents and mice in these areas but we have never come across rabbits. One theory could be that some domesticated rabbits could have escaped and bred. The rabbits may be going for some vegetation or food in the area.”
Once caught, the rabbits will be taken to the Dubai Veterinary Clinic in Al Khawaneej to rule out the spread of any diseases, after which they could be sent to Dubai Zoo or put up for adoption.