Oscar Gonzales of Pacoima, California, says he was driving a friend home on Highway 1 on Tuesday when he traveled through the Thomas Fire—the largest of all the major blazes affecting Southern California.
The 19-year-old, who works as a refrigerator installer, spotted a wild rabbit frantically hopping around the freeway as the flames approached. Gonzalez, who says he has a soft spot for furry creatures, jumped out of his car and ran to help the animal.
“I love animals myself,” Gonzales, who lives with his fiancee and five-month-old daughter, tells NBC LA about deciding to race into action to save the rabbit’s life. “I just felt bad, so I just ran out of the car, I was screaming!”
“I didn’t want the rabbit to go through the fire,” Gonzales told the news station. “I was yelling, ‘What are you doing?’ ”
Gonzales hopped up and down in a desperate bid to get the rabbit’s attention, but instead, his hurried behavior caused the animal to dart in the opposite direction toward the flames. After a few moments, the rabbit ran past Gonzales and then paused, giving his rescuer a few precious moments to grab ahold of him and carry him to safety to the other side of the freeway.
“At first he was afraid of me because I was yelling, but then it went in my arms,” Gonzales said.
What the footage doesn’t show, Gonzales said, is there was a second rabbit that was also led away from the flames.
“There were actually two rabbits,” he said. “One was the white rabbit and the other was black with white spots.”
The rabbit rescuer became an Internet hero after the footage went viral on social media.
God bless this guy 😭❤️😭❤️ He saved a wild rabbit from the fire ❤️ pic.twitter.com/fZlcWZPeq0— Aaron (@AaronTheKatyCat) December 7, 2017
In case you haven't seen this already, a here's a man saving a rabbit from the California wildfires. 29 seconds to restore your faith in humanity. pic.twitter.com/z8BX1Xz916— Paul Bronks (@BoringEnormous) December 8, 2017
But along with the praise, many criticized his actions, saying Gonzales placed himself in danger, along with the lives of anyone who would have tried to save him if he fell into trouble. Also, his efforts may have been in vain, as wildlife experts tend to agree that the rabbit may have been fine even if it was left alone.
Alexa, restore my faith in humanity. https://t.co/hyzuEBDPrK— shauna (@goldengateblond) December 7, 2017
Seeing this video a lot on my feed. Am I the only one who thinks this dude is an idiot for risking his own safety to save a rabbit?! https://t.co/XSJ9xv8RY9— Aaron Morse (@MorseCode206) December 7, 2017
Unpopular opinion:— ❄️caitling❄️ (@caitlingss) December 8, 2017
The man who rescued that rabbit from the wildfires is an idiot.
Why risk your own safety? He could've easily been injured, which would've been horrible for him/his family and a strain on already overtaxed emergency responders
According to Live Science, most small animals fair well during wildfires, especially if they are burrow-dwelling like California’s desert cottontail rabbit. Other animals who live above ground don’t usually perish in great numbers since they generally run away from the flames. When it comes to natural disasters such as wildfires, California Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Peter Tira told SF Gate that the best course of action is to simply leave any wild creatures alone. “Fire or no fire,” he said. “Just let the animals be.”
Good morning to no one except the dude who saved that rabbit from the fire in California— Javer (@mikematunas) December 8, 2017
|PeopleDon't we all wish we have someone like this guy in our family ?