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Rabbit warrens at cemetery filled in after complaints
Buy this photo » Rabbits have been blamed for damage at Wolvercote Cemetery
RABBIT warrens at a city cemetery have been filled in after concerns from visitors.
Oxford City Council carried out the work at Wolvercote Cemetery over fears rabbit tunnels were making walkways uneven.
Trevor Brockall, 66, visits his parents’ and grandparents’ graves every week at the Banbury Road cemetery.
The bookbinder, of Poplar Close, Kidlington, said: “The problem is the council have let it become a bit of a wildlife reserve.
“They have cut the grass a bit but there are still a lot of rabbits up there.
“There were holes in the ground where you had to walk, and all over the place you could see the holes where they were going into the graves.”
He said: “It is dangerous and they need to do something, but I am a big animal lover so I don’t know how to go about it.”
He contacted the Oxford Mail, and a reporter got in touch with Wolvercote city councillor Mike Gotch, who arranged the work.
Mr Gotch said: “They are a damned nuisance, and I have certainly heard this problem in the past.
“I spoke to the city’s head of cemeteries Trevor Jackson and he decided they couldn’t shoot them because there is too much public opposition.
“They didn’t want to poison them either so they decided to fill in the holes and hopefully drive the rabbits elsewhere.”
Animals are an issue for cemetery staff, he said.
“We have had badgers in Rose Hill cemetery and muntjac deer in another cemetery. The badgers have had moved on because they were digging up remains.”
The city council has available for cemetery visitors a list of flowers which rabbits will not eat.
Spokesman Louisa Dean said: “Regrettably our cemeteries do have an issue with rabbits from time to time, but we encourage cemetery users to use plants that are relatively resistant to rabbits.
“We are aware of the problems that they cause around pathways and near burial plots. “Our cemeteries team try to ensure that any holes are filled in with soil.”