Inundated by rabbits, Robben Island in South Africa, will close for several weeks as officials cull the local population, BBC News reports. The island is home to the prison where former South African President Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years.
According to officials, the rabbit population has become so unwieldy that it endangers the island’s vegetation and historic buildings.
“The current population is so large that it threatens to permanently damage the island’s sensitive vegetation, and poses a serious threat to other fauna species,” said Seelan Naidoo, an official at the Robben Island museum.
The UN World Heritage site, which has become one of the country’s most famous tourist attractions, will close from November 1-16 so officials can carry out a humane culling of the animals. Officials also say they will carry out an island-wide sterilization program to keep the rabbit population at a manageable and sustainable size.
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