Shiga: Rabbit Pair Abandoned at Temple Finds Forever Home

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ryoju Maesaka, a monk at Saikyoji Temple, holds one of the rabbits.

OTSU — Two rabbits apparently abandoned at a temple in Otsu in mid-January have recently found a new home.

The rabbits, each about 35 centimeters in length, are believed to have been pets as they did not run away when approached by the monk who found them in the parking lot of Saikyoji Temple.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The rabbits found at Saikyoji Temple in Otsu

The temple decided to care for the pair while looking for a forever home. The monks bought a cage at a secondhand shop and fed them in turns. The rabbits were also allowed to freely to hop around inside the temple.

As soon as a story about the rabbits appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun in February, the temple was flooded with offers to adopt them. Many people also sent food for the pair.

The temple eventually decided to give the rabbits to Rokuha Koen park in nearby Kusatsu in Shiga Prefecture because the park was the first to offer to adopt the animals and has experience in caring for rabbits. The park was caring for eight rabbits at one point but has only had one for the past two years.

“The hutch will be lively for the first time in a long time,” a park employee said on March 1, when the rabbits were handed over. “Our visitors will also be happy to meet them.”

The monks are also relieved to have found a home for the rabbits.

“If the former owner of the rabbits abandoned them here thinking that a temple will take care of it, they should take a long hard look at themselves and what they’ve done,” said Ryoju Maesaka, the monk who found the rabbits.