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The RSPCA is appealing for information after 10 rabbits were dumped in a tea chest in the New Forest.
Two members of the public out cycling through the New Forest on Saturday 8 May spotted a domestic rabbit at The Ornamental Drive, near Barrow Moor Car Park.
The rabbit dashed into a tea chest. When the pair looked into the tea chest they saw a total of 10 rabbits and alerted the RSPCA.
RSPCA Animal Welfare Officer, Sue Brooks, collected them.
"There was a food bowl in the tea chest and a water bottle had been wired in although all the food had gone and as the chest was on its side. When found the rabbits could not access the water, so it was lucky the weather was not hotter.
"There was also a quantity of faeces which would suggest they had been there a while."
There was one adult female, two five month-old rabbits and seven baby bunnies which were six to eight weeks-old. All the rabbits were of the Dutch cross variety and maybe mother and two generations of her babies.
All the rabbits were in average condition but were very nervous and are settling in at the RSPCA Ashley Heath Animal Centre, near Ringwood.
AWO Brooks, who is investigating, said;
"It is very unlikely the tea chest would have been spotted from the road so it was lucky the finders were following a cycle trail and spotted one of the rabbits, otherwise they might not have survived.
"Domestic rabbits cannot look after themselves in the wild and would be easy pickings for predators so it was heartless or someone to simply leave them in this way."
Anyone with information about this incident or who recognises this rabbit is urged to contact the RSPCA cruelty and information line on 0300 1234 999. Calls are treated in confidence.