On Jan. 17, Facebook group ROADS.sg shared a video of a lone rabbit hopping around Tampines Eco Green, near some MRT tracks.
Condition of the rabbit
The 15-second video shows the rabbit examining its new surroundings curiously before eventually settling down on one patch to munch on grass.
It is unclear how the rabbit ended up there, but it seems well taken care of and might be domesticated, as it had pristine white fur and did not shy away from the person recording.
In the comments, netizens appeared concerned, and speculated about where the animal came from.
Some believed it to be a likely case of abandonment, while others commented that the rabbit was wild.
Most netizens were understandably concerned, tagging animal welfare groups such as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Singapore, House Rabbit Society Singapore and Bunny Wonderland.
A Facebook user has since shared an update on the condition of the rabbit, claiming that it has been rescued by SPCA.
Rabbit in SPCA's care now
In response to Mothership's queries, SPCA's executive director, Aarthi Sankar, confirmed in a statement that the organisation attended to the rabbit after being alerted to the incident.
"She is currently safe in our care and has undergone medical checks at the SPCA’s Community Animal Clinic. We thank the public for their concern and support in helping us to ensure the rabbit received timely care."
According to Sankar, rabbits are highly domesticated and do not belong to the wild. If seen outside, it is highly likely that the creature has been abandoned or lost.
Rabbits can get highly stressed in such situations, and may not survive being out in the open for extended periods of time.
As such, SPCA urges members of the public to report such cases to SPCA's 24/7 emergency hotline at 6287 5355 Ext. 9.
A worrying trend
Sankar shared that the SPCA has also observed an uptick in abandonment cases over the years, particularly with small mammals such as rabbits and hamsters.
As many of these pets are not microchipped, it is difficult to determine if they are lost or abandoned.
During the festive seasons, SPCA has also observed an estimated 20 per cent increase in surrenders or abandonment of pets.
Since this year is the Year of the Rabbit, Sankar added that the organisation fears an increase in impulse buying or adopting pet rabbits, without serious consideration of the commitment involved.
Pet abandonment is a crime. Under the Animals and Birds Act, individuals who are found guilty of pet abandonment can face a maximum fine of S$10,000, or a jail term of up to 12 months, or both.
Previously, rabbits were also found abandoned in Clementi last December.
A main reason for abandonment that rabbit welfare groups highlighted was the glamourisation of rabbits as pets on social media, ignoring the effort and commitment needed to care for them.
Cover images from ROADS.Sg/ FB