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Many rabbits live on the island. When the island was developed as a park after World War II, these rabbits were intentionally set loose. Many rabbits were used in the chemical munitions plant to test the effectiveness of the chemical weapons during World War II; however, those rabbits were killed when the factory was demolished. According to Murakami, the former director of the poison gas museum, the current rabbits have nothing to do with those that were involved with chemical weapon tests. Hunting these creatures is forbidden and dogs and cats may not be taken onto the island. The ruins of the old forts and the gas factory can be found all over the island; entry is prohibited as it is too dangerous. Since it is part of the Inland Sea National Park system of Japan, there is a resource center and across the way is the museum.
The island of Ōkunoshima once served as a secret military installation responsible for pumping out toxic chemicals during World War II. Decades later, the Japanese island is now renowned for its tourism -- but not the kind associated with former military bases and abandoned factories. Instead, tourists travel to the island in search of one thing: bunnies.
Okay, technically they're rabbits; hence Ōkunoshima's moniker of "Rabbit Island", but whatever travellers want to call them doesn't change the fact that the island's fluffy inhabitants are all sorts of cute.
For 16 years, Japan's Imperial Army used the island to produce kilotons of deadly mustard gas. The island was selected for its remoteness and in case there was an accident, major cities like Tokyo would be spared from disaster. As with the ugliness of war, Japanese researchers brought rabbits to the island as test subjects for the poison, according to Amusing Planet.
After the Empire of The Rising Sun was defeated by the Allies at the end of World War II, the facility was shut down and the bunnies were released back into the wild, while the Los Angeles Times suggests it was a group of school children who released eight test bunnies into the predator-free wild where they've multiplied to over 300 long-eared little critters.
The island's many furry little residents have created something of a tourism boom for Ōkunoshima, drawing in thousands of travellers either to take photos of the hordes of bunnies by their feet or to see the island's other attraction: the national Poison Gas Museum.
reply to post by Kangaruex4Ewe
Thanks for all the info Kange....really interesting. I must say it's an island I would like to visit. I have a soft spot for cute, fluffy bunnies.
Don't let that go to your heads Beeze, and Wrabbit.
reply to post by Kangaruex4Ewe
Thankyou for that information!
If I could give you more stars I would.
reply to post by rickymouse
Yes, I just checked too, and it does indeed appear the video was removed.
That's Facebook for you.
I'm going to look for other videos that may be similar that can be posted to make up for the loss.
I'm glad I at least did a screen capture.
reply to post by Destinyone
Oh No! Did I really say that out loud....
As long as they don't start growing, I think everything will be fine.
Night of the Lepus
Today Ōkunoshima, tomorrow THE WORLD!!!