Finnish gardeners cull rabbits in capital city
Head gardener Marko Pesu from the University of Helsinki’s botanical gardens has already terminated 120 rabbits with extreme prejudice this year.
Private citizens eager to take the law into their own hands over Helsinki’s escalating rabbit problem.
Since last autumn, 2,000 rabbits have been culled legally in the Finnish capital.
By Ann-Mari Huhtanen
Helsinki’s rabbit wild situation has reached the point where the little furry creatures are now being hunted by any means necessary, especially in residential districts with gardens to protect.
According to head gardener Marko Pesu of the University of Helsinki’s botanical gardens, also in the city’s allotment gardens some rather dubious rabbit-elimination methods have been introduced.
The wild rabbit are having their numbers forcibly reduced by using hayforks, dungforks, homemade traps, and cats, Pesu lists.
Hunting for the city rabbits without an appropriate shooting licence is illegal, however.
Also the rabbit-hunting season has been defined in the law. The hunting season begins in September continues until the end of February.
In the online debates regarding the city rabbits, robust measures are called for to solve the problem.
“I recommend rabbit patrols with PCP (pre-charged pneumatic) airguns formed by those who are into the hobby. Power and accuracy quite sufficient, and yet, relatively safe for the [non-rabbit] environment”, suggests one pseudonym-writer on the web site of the green ideology tabloid Vihreä lanka (“Green Thread”).
“I would poison the rabbits. Perhaps a couple of other animals may die in the process, but so what?” proposes Veronmaksaja (“Tax Payer”), writing on the HS.fi boards, as his solution to the rabbit problem.
Legally nearly two thousand rabbits have been caught and shot in Helsinki since last autumn. Responsible for the onslaught are the city’s anonymous hunters and head gardener Pesu, who has been given an exceptional permit to shoot rabbits and hares from his garden, granted by the Uusimaa Game Management District.
Already for a few years now, Pesu has used his small-bore rifle to keep in check the rabbit population of the botanical gardens.
This year Pesu has already bumped off 120 rabbits.