The rabbit was secretly added to the 9m statue of Nelson Mandela as a signature of the sculptors.

Johannesburg - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) have written to the minister of arts and culture in the hope of adopting the bronze rabbit discovered in the ear of Nelson Mandela’s statue at the Union Buildings.

The organisation asked Paul Mashatile that if the rabbit is removed, it be donated to Peta so they may use it to highlight the plight of rabbits and other animals that are slaughtered for their skins, used in forced labour, kept in chains and denied their freedom.

In the letter, Mimi Bekhechi, associate director at Peta UK, writes: “Mandela cared about cruelty to animals. He was a patron of the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“We would be honoured to use the bronze rabbit – the same animal that proudly leaps across Peta’s logo – to honour Mandela’s vision of a more peaceful, kinder world,” Bekhechi wrote.

The rabbit was secretly added to the 9m sculpture as a signature of the sculptors. It is to be removed.

The Star