Circulating photographs show an extremely large rabbit being held up by its owner.
The rabbit, named ‘Robert’, is (or was) a real animal and the images are authentic. The man holding Robert is German-based rabbit breeder, Karl Szmolinsky. In 2006, Robert and several other rabbit companions were sent to North Korea as part of a breeding program designed to help alleviate chronic food shortages in that country. What happened to the rabbits after their arrival in North Korea is somewhat unclear. There has been speculation that the rabbits may have been eaten at a birthday banquet for former North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il.
Although the rabbit depicted in these photographs may seem almost unbelievably large, it is (or was) in fact a real animal and the images are authentic. According to a February 2007 Washington Post article, the colossal bunny in the pictures is a German gray giant named “Robert” who weighed in at a whopping 23 pounds (10.4 kilograms). The man holding Robert is Karl Szmolinsky, a long-time rabbit breeder who lives in Eberswalde, a town in eastern Germany.
Szmolinsky and his giant rabbits gained the attention of the media after he agreed to sell some of his animals to the North Koreans to be used in a breeding program designed to help alleviate chronic food shortages in that country. Because of the large size of the breed, North Korean diplomats felt that Szmolinsky’s rabbits would be a good choice as breeding stock. Indeed, Szmolinsky notes that each of his giant rabbits can yield up to 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) of tender meat.
In December 2006, a collection of carefully selected rabbits, including Robert, was transported to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Szmolinsky was later informed that the rabbits arrived safely in North Korea.
Sadly, what happened to Robert and the other bunnies after their arrival is somewhat unclear. The secretive North Koreans remain tight-lipped about the success or failure of the breeding program. In fact, Mr Szmolinsky later received word that the rabbits he supplied may have been eaten at a birthday banquet for former North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, rather than used as breeders as he intended. However, that claim remains unsubstantiated
The email subject-line of this version of the message, “they’re gonna need a bigger wall in china!”, may seem somewhat cryptic to recipients who do not live in Australia. The line references a very popular television advertisement shown in Australia in which a father, struggling to think of a factual answer, finally tells his young son that the Great Wall of China was built to “keep the rabbits out”. According to the ad, if only the dad had Bigpond broadband connected at home, he would have been able to give his youngster the correct answer. This clever ad and its follow-ups were very well known in Australia and the “dad” became a minor celebrity.
Robert is not the first German gray giant to have photographs of his furry visage travel around the world via email. In 2006, an email featuring a German gray giant named “Herman” began circulating, along with the following description:
He weighs in at 22 pounds and measures a little over 3 feet.
He is a breed of rabbit called German Giant (how appropriate!).
This is his owner, Hans Wagner, struggling to hold him up.
From the NY Post article: “We don’t feed him an unusual diet,” said Wagner. “He goes through more than his brothers and sisters, but he eats the same food mix. His favorite food is actually lettuce. He can never get enough of it.”
LOOK AT THOSE FEET!
Can You imagine the LUCK you would have with one of these!!!!!!!!
Like Robert, Herman is also a real animal and the photograph is genuine. Herman lives in the German city of Berlin with his owner Hans Wagner. There are conflicting reports regarding Herman’s exact weight, but Robert may be a tad larger. According to a CBBC Newsround Online article that discusses this giant bunny, “Herman lives in a specially built solid oak hutch and chomps his way through just over 2kg of food a day. His owner says his favourite snack is lettuce“. For a time, Herman was something of a celebrity and even had his own MySpace page.
Rabbits like Robert and Herman belong to a specially developed breed and do not live in the wild.