Hi Steve, nice to hear from you.
I think your point about captive release, captive release and so on must be true over the centuries. Just from the point of view of convenience and to improve meat supply. Maybe even introducing stock from elsewhere in Europe.
I think, in this case, that this was a knejerk reaction to re introduce rabbits so the lynx can be reintroduced into the same area. The area in the news recently with the hybrids is actually very close to the new project for the Iberian Highlands rewildling project. https://wildsideholidays.co.uk/the-iberian-highlands-rewilding-project/
Also, the “plague” didn’t happen overnight. Its taken years for them to get to the numbers the farmers are talking about. I suspect the releases of a semi wild/domestic stock has been done quietly but its gone wrong when the rabbits have moved down to arable land from the “wild” to take advantage of the easier food supply……
I still don’t get how they have become a plague. Every restaurant should have them on the menu to control a balanced population reducing the amount of factory farmed stock needed for the human food supply…. No?