Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Bunny Tragedy

Since the start of this year, I have become a keen runner. There are numerous obvious health benefits but also a run at the start of day clears my head and helps me focus on the day. It has also become a way for me to explore my neighbourhoods and countryside on my doorstep. But, the hazard of running in beauty spots is disturbing the wildlife. At home in Brighton, this hasn't been a major problem, mainly dodging snails at 7am. But while in Wales for work, it's a different story.

My chosen route for a morning run was on the pedestrian path by the Shropshire Union Canal in Welshpool, which you can follow "all the way to Newtown if you like" according to the self-titled 'Big Dave' on reception at the Royal Oak hotel. I won't be going to Newtown, it's 14 miles away and I'm only training for a half marathon but keen to explore the canal, a very different environment to my usual run routes. Needless to say it's a haven for a vast variety of species. On my first morning, I followed a grey heron along a stretch of the canal which was a real treat.

The late Canal Bunny
On my second day of running I saw a cute little bunny, hopping along the path. I quietly whipped out my phone and took a video for my daughters. How proud I would be to show them a real life rabbit in the (sort of) wild. Suddenly he decides to escape me by jumping in the canal (rather than trot back to the field he came from) to which I immediately panicked, can rabbits swim? While I'm desperately looking for a branch to put in the water and steer him back to the bank, a family of swans start to terrorise the desperately swimming rabbit. Sternly warning off the swans who were hissing furiously at the brave bunny, my feeble townie ways couldn't think how to help the poor mammal short of jumping in. I didn't jump in of course, that would be daft.

Exhausted from swimming the rabbit stopped still and turned on his side. All alone, I still hunt for something to try and bring him to shore in the desperate hope he would hop to life. Heartbroken, I had to go on my way. The swans swam off.

So I'm feeling utterly useless & destructive. I know it wasn't directly my fault but if I hadn't have been there, the canal bunny may still be alive. Answers on a postcard in the form of a blog comment of how I could save a drowning bunny again?

Rest in peace. You were much loved but not by swans.


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