Bunnies go bye-bye

• The sight awaiting people who visit the Fremantle Esplanade.

• The sight awaiting people who visit the Fremantle Esplanade.

RABBITS poisoned by Fremantle city council are returning to tunnels under the Carriage Café to die, their decaying corpses leaving behind a stench for patrons.

The council says it’s the café’s responsibility to remove the rotting corpses from under its expansive deck.

Kel Smith owns the iconic café and isn’t happy. He says he’s been asking the council for two months to trap the animals and never expected them to use poison in the inner city. “Baits, I believe should not be an option for health and safety reasons,” he says.

Council CEO Graeme Mackenzie says baiting using radiated oats “infused with Pindone” is approved by WA agriculture.

“Baits [were] placed along the railway reserve fence outside of readily accessible public areas,” he says. “To date, four rabbits have been collected as a result of the baiting, but the majority of rabbit warrens have been found to be underneath the Carriage Café and therefore are the responsibility of the tenant to manage.”

Mr Mackenzie says trapping has “proved costly and ineffective”.

The Herald wandered down to the cafe Friday and wrinkled its nose at the unmistakeable funk coming up from underneath the café deck.

Just to the left of the park, near Marine Terrace, a crow was feasting on the remains of a poisoned rabbit.

South Fremantle local Anne Roberts was lunching at the café last Thursday with friends when the group caught a whiff of “something dying”: “It came drifting across the park and I’m not sure where it was coming from but it was definitely something dying.”

Mr Smith describes the council’s response to his calls for it to deal with the corpses as “unsatisfactory”. One councillor made light of the issue, with Cr Rob Fittock replying in an email to Mr Smith: “Roger the Rabbit has whispered that the bunnies have taken the easy way out by not digging burrows and are living under the carriage, eating the baits while cavorting around the park at night and returning home to die. A shame to kill them but what do you do with them when you trap them?”

by BRENDAN FOSTER

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