Canmore, Alberta has been home to an overabundance of feral rabbits for nearly 30 years. Recently the town council contracted Animal Damage Control to cull the rabbits starting November 14.
The feral population exploded after pet owners released their domestic rabbits into the wild. Although domestic rabbits usually do not survive on their own, these did. And the rabbits produced more and more offspring until the population reached its current estimated total of 800 rabbits.
These feral rabbits damage property and attract wild predators into neighborhoods and therefore must be removed from the town. However, local rescue group Save Canmore Bunnies, headed by Kyndra Biggy, would like to impose a different solution than a cull. Their plan is to round up the rabbits, spay/neuter them, and then relocate them to bunny-friendly sanctuaries. But this costs money. The group needs to raise $100,000 in order to put their plan into action. If you would like to donate money, veterinary services, or sanctuary land, visit the Save Canmore Bunnies Want to Help page.
Save Canmore Bunnies has estimated it will cost $130 per rabbit.
The funding comes at a time when the rabbit charity will need the extra support. Year after year, Easter marks a time when people purchase bunnies for their young children without fully understanding the responsibility and commitment of owning a rabbit. The majority of these impulse buys end up in shelters and rescues.
A trap set on the UVic campus for the feral rabbit population. Photo Andrew Allen.
Martlet.ca posted an article that summarizes the situation up to date about the feral rabbit population inhabiting the UVic campus.
Basically, the pilot program to trap the rabbits, spay/neuter them, and then rehouse them was cut short due to a permitting issue with the Ministry of Environment. According to a UVic spokesman, the sanctuaries set to take in the rabbits were unwilling to go through the process to get this special permit.
So UVic cut the program short and began to cull the rabbits on May 8.
Rabbit Rescue Inc. of Ontario held BunFest on Sunday, August 23rd. The event brought bunny owners from all over for a day of education and pampering. Owners were able to chat with vets and rescue staff about health, diet, care, and a variety of other issues. Bunnies could get pampered with spa treatments. There was even a bunny cafe where the bunnies could have a snack and take a rest.
There was an adoption area where visitors could meet rabbits in search of forever homes. Rabbit Rescue, Inc. took in more than 600 rabbits last year. Each year since being established in 2001 the rescue has taken in an increasing number of rabbits.
Back in December, I posted about the feral rabbit population explosion in the Canadian city of Kelowna, British Columbia. Since then, the city has gone back and forth on how to handle the problem. After complaints about the inhumane culling of the rabbits by use of air rifles, the city changed its approach. Currently the city has turned to trapping the feral bunnies, and then putting them up for adoption.
The Responsible Animal Care Society (TRACS), who has been active in saving the rabbits, has sponsored many fundraising events. Their latest is a benefit concert featuring Elvis impersonator D.R. Elvis happening on Saturday, November 1.
Canadian artist Chris Reid has an art exhibition out at the Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George, British Columbia, entitled, “The Good, The Bad, and The Bunny.” Hanging from the ceiling are about 70 colorful sock bunnies. According to the artist, “It’s a loose narrative, so the idea is that you can make up your mind about what the bunnies are and what they’re doing. There’s this sense of motion, perhaps running, perhaps one against the other.”