Letters to the Editor

Let the American Camp rabbits live

Why do they want an empty field at American Camp? Take away the food source and the predators leave. Without rabbits, the eagles, fox, and all other predators will have to relocate to find food.

The experts can say whatever they like, it will not change the facts. Also, if the fox were introduced to the island to control the rabbits, why suddenly has their diet changed exclusively to mice and voles?

About four years ago, we had a family of fox make a home for themselves in our front yard. Up until that time we also had about 10 or so bunnies living here as well. The rabbits disappeared, and when a friend of ours stumbled into the foxes' den, he found a whole lot of bunny bones.

The king salmon are on the endangered species list as are the orcas, and a whole litany of other wildlife. When our economy is so very fragile and a whole lot of other animals are endangered, why would the National Park Service want to kill such a hearty breed? According to the Historical Society, the bunnies were introduced here in 1903 as a cash crop, not a food source in the 1880s, as stated by The Journal. They sustained our island through good times and hard times. It puzzles me to think that the parks people find native grasses, mice and voles more important than a living legacy.

They say they want to return the prairie to its pristine condition, and that it will take 50 years to do it. It's been 130 years since it was 1880, in 50 years it will be the year 2060. I sincerely doubt that anyone will really know or care 50 years from now about the native grasses, and if they want to preserve the redoubt all they need to do is put up a rabbit fence around it. Let the bunnies live.

I have talked to some old islanders; it makes us sad, and such a waste. It's not any fun to visit South Beach; there's nothing to see but an empty field.

My burning question is why do they want public feedback on the environmental issue, when it's already a done deal? The Journal stated very clearly, "The American Camp rabbits' days are numbered." So why the public meetings?

The Pig War lasted from 1859 to 1872, 13 years. The rabbits have been here for 107 years. The National Park has been here for 44 years, since 1966. What gives them the right to destroy a whole species to save some grasses, mice and voles? Like I told PETA, it's wrong. They responded to my letter, but there was no follow through.

Seems to me the only invasive species at American Camp are the people who run the National Park.

Jeanie Garrett
San Juan Island

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