Open season on royal rabbits

King Albert and Queen Paola have been granted permission to take action to curb the overpopulation of rabbits at the Belvédère estate in the Brussels district of Laken where they live. News that the royals will be allowed to kill (some of) the rabbits appears on the Brussels regional news website brusselnieuws.be and the Francophone newspaper 'La Capitale'.

The Brussels Environment Agency (BIM) has granted King Albert's advisor Vincent Pardoen special dispensation to hunt and kill up to 50 of the wild rabbits that live on the estate.

Hunting rabbits is allowed in Flanders and Brussels. However, this is not the case in the Brussels-Capital region. This has resulted in an over population of rabbits in some of the capital's parks and other open spaces. Laken Park, near to the Atomium is one good example of this.

'La Capitale' reports that the rabbits have damaged Queen Paola's garden. The retired Queen is well-known for her roses. Now that even the Belvédère Estates foxes are unable to keep the rabbit population under control, the King's Advisor asked for permission for a cull. No details have been given on how the rabbits will be killed.

Although the special dispensation was granted in the spring it only came into force last Wednesday. It is valid until 26 January.