According to Atlas Obscura, Las Vegas is being overrun with feral bunnies.
In early 2015, Dave Schweiger, a longtime Las Vegas resident, came home from work to find his teenage daughter sitting on the lawn, surrounded by six Bunnies. These weren’t the dun-colored jackrabbits of the Nevada desert: they were bonafide domestic bunnies, sleek and multipatterned, with cute ears and fuzzy coats. The Schweigers, who are animal lovers, were unfazed. They started buying extra carrots on their weekly trip to Costco.
But six bunnies doesn’t stay six bunnies for long. Within two months, there were 24 living under the Schweiger’s shed. When, with the help of a local rescue center, Dave caught them and took them to the vet to get neutered, he found out several of his new friends were pregnant again. “In another month, we would have had over 50,” he says. If they hadn’t taken action, the Schweigers’ yard might have turned into a common, but little-known Sin City feature: the bunny refugee camp.
The yards, parks and lots of Vegas are home to thousands of feral rabbits. Known as “bunny dump sites” to the legions of volunteers that care for their residents, they’re strange places, more tragic than adorable, where the human heart clashes with the limited resources of the state. Released by overwhelmed pet-owners and left to breed, the rabbits now overwhelm any attempt at government control, digging up public property, chewing on pipes, and ending up dead in the sewers. To survive, they depend entirely on the kindness of self-identified “bunny-lovers”—volunteers faced with an impossible task.
Schweiger works near one of the more legendary dump sites, a state-run mental health facility in the center-west of the city. It’s home to hundreds, if not thousands, of rabbits—although if you didn’t already know that, you might not find out. “You go out to the field and you don’t see any,” Schweiger says. “I start throwing out hay, romaine lettuce, and carrots, and they just come out of everywhere.”
Schweiger runs an awareness-building website called Las-Vegas-Bunnies.com, and often meets other concerned citizens at this particular site to feed and check on the rabbits. In a video from his most recent visit, scores of excited bunnies traipse over the dead grass and under the picnic tables as volunteers strew bits of lettuce across the ground.
Atlas Obscura reports on a cat paradise on the island of Lanai in Hawaii.
The island of Lanai is tiny: The population hovers around a little over 3,000 people, mostly staffing the island’s Four Seasons resort. However amid the Hawaiian island’s turquoise waters and endless green foliage, hundreds of cats live in their own secluded paradise at the “Fur Seasons,” a sprawling sanctuary for the island’s feral cats.
The Lanai Cat Sanctuary is home to some 500 furry felines, who happily roam and play on 25,000 square feet of land on one of the most remote islands in the United States.
The cat paradise was created in 2009 to rescue the island’s cats that were being hunted due to overpopulation. It now opens its doors to thousands of cat lovers a year, some of whom travel to the island just to visit the “Hawaiian Lions,” as they are lovingly known.
Lanai became overpopulated with cats after the animals were first brought to Hawaii more than a century ago on whaling boats. Strays were crawling all over the island, begging for food from residents and tourists. Viewing them as pests, residents took to trapping and killing the cats. So a volunteer program was started to catch the feral felines, neuter them, and release them back to the wild. But when it was discovered the cats were also endangering the native ‘Ua’u birds, a shelter was created to rescue the island’s cats and protect its birds at the same time.
Upon entering the eternally sunny sanctuary visitors will hear happy mews as they become the center of attention for a few Lanai kitties looking for love. Each of the cats is also available for adoption. The site lies on a plot of land with fresh running water but not much else. There is no electricity or plumbing. The sanctuary runs entirely off of donations from tourists, money the organization has been trying to put toward expanding the sanctuary and establishing a medical system for the feline residents. Lanai is so small and remote, there are few if any veterinarians on the island.
Do You Want to Visit?
The sanctuary is near the Lanai airport and can be accessed from a couple dirt roads. After passing the airport, take the second dirt road on the left. There should be a rock denoting a highway labeled "Kaunolu." Turn left and look for a gate on the right. Visitors are welcomed to the tiny paradise from 10 am to 3pm.
Feral cats in Valencia, Spain now have a place to rest.
At the foot of a blue wall on Carrer del Museu, the facade of a tiny house attracts the attention of passersby. The house is only a foot or two tall but it is designed in a classically Valencian style. It has a Spanish tiled roof, a little fountain, and a “garden” to the side (actually just one potted plant).
The house’s entrance is dark and does not appear to lead to the other side of the wall, but perhaps that’s just a ruse for human intruders. Legend has it that the old woman who previously owned the house behind the gate left it for the feral cats of Valencia to inhabit. Whether or not this is true and whether or not there are any cats behind the wall will have to remain a mystery—to the humans of Valencia at least.