Man celebrated for rescuing rabbit from fire now faces backlash

LOS ANGELES – A man caught on video rescuing a small rabbit from a blazing wildfire in California was hailed as a hero Thursday — but not by everybody, including experts who say it's debatable whether the rabbit even needed saving in the first place.

Torie Bosch at Slate says risking the flames to grab the bunny was "a stupid thing to do" and sharing the man's story, possibly inspiring others to similar acts of animal rescue, is "irresponsible." Tosch says the man could have required saving himself, endangering bystanders, or traumatized those bystanders by dying in his rescue attempt.

And what now for the rescued rabbit? Just release it "so it can end up in another wildfire?" "Human lives need to take precedence over animal lives," Tosch writes. "Let the animals take care of themselves."

As callous as that sounds, it's a sentiment echoed by Live Science, which reports that wild animals as a rule know what they're doing when it comes to wildfires. A report from the US Forest Service found wildfires actually kill surprisingly few animals. Rabbits can survive fires by hiding out in their underground burrows, and those that aren't hiding or fleeing a fire—such as the one in the video—likely have a good reason for not doing so. Animals have been observed hanging around fires in the past in order to shepherd their young out of harm's way.

"Fire is something animals have to deal with constantly," California Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Peter Tira tells the San Francisco Chronicle. Tira is asking people to ignore a post being widely circulated on Facebook advising residents to leave buckets of water out for animals fleeing the fires. "Fire or no fire, just let the animals be," Tira says.

This article originally appeared on Newser: Internet's Rabbit-Rescuing Hero Facing Backlash

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  • SMH

    Did you people not see BABY BUNNIES could have died because there mother was “saved”? Yeah fire is the worst way to die. Poor BABY BUNNIES!

    • Daniela Lavanza

      Just because there MAY BE babies around doesn’t mean you should leave this poor living creature burn down!
      And to those who claim animals should face it alone…remember fires are mainly caused by men and strengthened by man-made global warming?

      • SMH

        Oh I agree with you 100% the fires were created by man. And I am a full believer in man made global warming. This is a different situation though. There was some reason why that bunny was that close. We need to focus our attention to other global matters like that poor starving polar bear. We need to step in there, not a bunny who was capable.

  • Let Good be Good!

    How absolutely unfortunate that anyone would find something negative to say about this man’s selfless act! Under ordinary circumstances I’d say sure, it’s best not to interfere with wild animals. However, extraordinary circumstances sometimes call for intervention – and this was one of those moments! That rabbit was trapped between a busy highway and the unruly fire. It’s chances of survival were not good! How many other people drove on by? Compassion and empathy are what set us apart as human beings. This young man was following his own instincts and taking action to save another living being in danger. This should be commended, not condemned! We would do well to quit discouraging kindness, compassion and empathy in a world which breeds self-absorbed willful blindness.

  • SMH

    The article said rabbits hang around fires to Shepard their young out. By “saving” this rabbit, baby rabbits could’ve been close by that died. Animals are smarter than humans. As long as they aren’t trapped in a cage or house, they know what to do to survive!

  • Jay Morgan

    I hope compassion for living things never goes out of style. As for the naysayers, well you simply suck with your crappy attitude. This guy is my hero. He will do well in life.

  • are you kidding?!?

    Look at the little bunny rabbit. I will call him George. I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him………

  • Jodie

    I completely understand what you are saying but there comes a time where animals may need a lending hand as well. But they are right dont put your life at risk for a wild animal..but if it was a pet you bet your bottom I would ..I see no harm in what this person did. Lets try to contain the wild fires instead of running your mouth about a good person who saved a rabbits life . no need to be so negative if that’s how your are going to be keep your comments to your self so what if he is a animal lover .

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