London, Apr 27 (ANI): Four years ago, after spending 600,000 pounds, the tiny Hebridean island of Canna was released from its plague of rats. But now, a new problem has popped up: too many rabbits.
Islanders are complaining that the rodent's disappearance has led to thousands of rabbits invading the island because there are no rats to keep their numbers down.
The problem has gone so out of hand that locals say historic monuments are being "devastated" by the rabbits, reports The Telegraph.
What's more, the otherwise cute animals are devouring the self-sufficient islanders' gardens away.
In an effort to do its bit, the island's only restaurant responded to the crisis by offering dishes of rabbit and cranberry with pistachio, and rabbit pie in a rosemary and thyme cream sauce.
In 2008, Canna, with just 20 residents, was officially declared "rat free" by Michael Russell, the then Environment Minister, after a team of specialists from New Zealand cleared the island of 10,000 brown rats whose ancestors had first found their way to the island from a passing ship more than a century ago.
But with the rats gone, the rabbit population is booming.
"There are thousands of them now - it has reached near plague proportions," said resident Mrs Winnie Mackinnon, 47, who has lived virtually all of her life on Canna.
"I have never known it so bad. It is because the rats have gone and they used to keep the rabbit numbers down. The rabbits don't have a natural predator anymore.
"We don't want the rats back - but the rabbits have become a major problem. They are threatening our archaeology which goes back 8000 years here. An Iron Age mound is a particularly target for them. It is a scheduled monument but it is being burrowed into by the rabbits and being eroded.
"Stone Age huts and dykes from the Clearances are having their foundations destroyed. They are in people's gardens - and being so far away from the mainland we rely a lot on growing our own vegetables.
"The only thing that are happy are the sea eagles. They have been having a real feast but obviously nowhere near keeping up with the rabbit population." (ANI)