About Enderby Island Rabbits
|Photo by Sitereh Schouten|
The breed of rabbits known as “Enderby Island” or just
“Enderby” are descendants of rabbits taken from Australia and released onto
subantarctic Enderby Island in the Auckland Islands, New Zealand, group early
in October 1865. Here they engendered a rabbit population which was to remain
in isolation for nearly 130 years.
A breeding group of 49 rabbits was removed from the Island
in September 1992.
Most Enderby Island rabbits are a distinctive silver-grey in
color with an undercoat of dark slate blue. Their heads, ears and tails are
much darker – often being black. This unusual coloring has led to a suggestion
that the original animals released were the French Argente de Champagne breed
(Champagne Silver), but there is no hard evidence to support this assumption –
although it was widely believed until recently, when it has been suggested that
the original rabbits the were released are more likely to have been British
As well as the silver-grey rabbits, a very small percentage
is born cream or beige-colored – a shade produced by a recessive gene.
Enderby Island rabbits are of a moderate size and weigh
around two kilograms.
For several years all animals remained the property of the
Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand with breeding program being
undertaken by individual caregivers. Some animals are now available for
purchase by private enthusiasts. Some have been exported to North America.
Content and Photo Source: New Zealand Rare Breeds (www.rarebreeds.co.nz )