East Orlando neighborhood Azalea Park is overrun with rabbits


The population is rapidly growing all over Orlando, so it's no surprise to see a new family or two on your block. But Azalea Park residents are dealing with a completely different type of population boom: The neighborhood is chock-full of rabbits.

There are about 50 bunnies living in this Orange County neighborhood, and that number is growing.

"What likely happened in a situation like this is someone dumped maybe a couple of rabbits, but their gestation period is 20 to 30 days to give birth, so very, very quickly you are going to see those numbers increase," said Alicia Branoff, adoption and foster coordinator of Orlando Rabbit Care & Adoptions, in an interview with WESH.

Orlando Rabbit Care & Adoptions are a nonprofit organization that dedicates their time to educating, caring, and rescuing house rabbits. They are trying their very best to rescue all these bunnies and care for them until they can find a home. In 2021, the organization rescued 575 rabbits, and just in the first two months of 2022, they rescued 130 rabbits.

"I came in person, when I was driving down the blocks of the street, there were bunnies everywhere. In every yard ... it's just a sad situation for the community because these people have to come outside and see animals that need rescue, and no one can do anything about it at this point," said Stephanie Gallino, an Orlando Rabbit Care volunteer, in an interview with Click Orlando.

Many area rabbit rescues are at full capacity and Orlando Rabbit Care already has 80 rabbits. Taking these rabbits in might prevent them from taking in more for the rest of the year. Petco and PetSmart no longer sell rabbits, nor can they take them in.

"We would have to come in and get all of the rabbits or none. We can't just pull three or four rabbits at a time if we have three or four openings and then come back in two or four weeks and start getting more. Because, like I said, with them reproducing so quickly we would never get ahead of that number," said Branoff.

Domestic bunnies are not like wild rabbits. Wild rabbits know how to escape from predators and know where they can dig a burrow, while domestic bunnies need more attention and special care.

They need donations, as some of the supplies needed are expensive. Getting the bunnies ready for adoption can come to $7,500, including flea meds, spay/neuter, vaccinations, and any other medical attention they may seek.

"We need volunteers. We need money donations. The biggest thing we need is a climate-controlled location to put all of these rabbits," Branoff states.

For more information on how to help foster and rescue these rabbits visit the Orlando Rabbit Care & Adoptions' Facebook page.





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