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Mysterious String Of Rabbit Deaths In South St. Louis | Urban Wildlife

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Mysterious String Of Rabbit Deaths In South St. Louis
By George Sells

There is a mystery in south St. Louis’ Villanova neighborhood, as residents try to figure out what’s happening to all the rabbits.  The subdivision, normally teeming with rabbits, saw a sudden, near complete disappearance of the creatures about three weeks ago.  Many neighbors found bodies of the animals in their yards.  They appeared to be uninjured.

“I’ve lived here about sixteen years,” resident Joe Dobbs said.  “Never seen anything like this. Usually see rabbits all over the neighborhood and now, for some reason, they’re just showing up dead.”

Dodd found eight in his yard, and other residents have found bodies as well.  Many fear it’s a result of West Nile virus, but Missouri’s Department of Conservation says that’s unlikely.

The department was not aware of the problem, but Mike Arduser told FOX 2 by phone he finds the whole thing puzzling.  He says he can’t be certain of what the problem is without doing tests, but his gut tells him a human is likely to blame. 

Neighborhood Association president Chuck Hart says one resident has been leaving seed for area animals for years.  Concerns about possible tampering with that seed led the man to stop the practice. 

“He just stopped because he was afraid it might have been vandalized in some fashion.  We just don’t think that’s it because it’s too big of an area,” Hart said.

No one is certain what’s going on, but it’s clear the neighborhood is quiet when it comes to wildlife.

The Missouri Department of Conservation says they’d like to get a sample, one of the rabbit’s bodies, to test and determine why they’re dying. 

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