Roadtrippin’ 2023: Valdez residents have mixed feelings about their famous hares

Roadtrippin' 2023: Wildlife in Valdez
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 2:31 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Are they called “bunnies” or “rabbits?”

It’s a divisive choice of words here in Valdez where the animals famously live throughout town in what you can either call an infestation or a bundle of cuteness.

Did they destroy your flowers? Most likely you’ll refer to the animals as “rabbits.”

If you’re one of the people who feed little Thumper scraps of vegetables, then you probably say “bunnies.”

Usually, you can’t go five minutes in Valdez without seeing one. But this year the animals are noticeably missing.

Locals blame lynx last summer for decimating the population.

The hares even are part of the Valdez visitor guide.

“These are not wild rabbits, but rather feral descendants of domesticated rabbits which were turned loose some years ago. The mild winters and bountiful summers in Valdez have allowed these rabbits to flourish in our community,” the guide reads.

There are many urban legends about how little rascals ended up here, including an angry “cat lady” who set the animals free because of spite.

Andrew Goldstein, the curator at the Valdez Museum, said on the Valdez website that most likely the population started in the 80s.

Either way, artwork involving the Easter Bunny’s relatives is found throughout Valdez — as well as empty flower pots.