Mysterious string of rabbit deaths probed in south St. Louis

Residents and state officials in Missouri are boggled by a string of rabbit deaths in south St. Louis, where a subdivision normally teeming with the animals has seen a near-complete disappearance of them. reports that many residents in south St. Louis’ Villanova section have found carcasses of the animals in their yards and that they have appeared to be uninjured.

“I’ve lived here about sixteen years,” resident Joe Dobbs said.  “Never seen anything like this. Usually see rabbits all over the neighborhood and now, for some reason, they’re just showing up dead.”

Dobbs said he found eight dead rabbits in his yard, and other residents have found carcasses as well. Some neighbors believe the deaths are a result of West Nile virus, but officials at Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) say that’s unlikely.

Chuck Hart, president of a local neighborhood association, said one resident has been leaving seed for area animals for years. Concerns about possible tampering with that seed stopped the practice, Hart said.

“He just stopped because he was afraid it might have been vandalized in some fashion,” Hart said. “We just don’t think that’s it because it’s too big of an area.”

DNR officials said they’d like to test one of the rabbit’s bodies to determine why they’re dying.

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