A feral rabbit relaxes by the curb in the town of Canmore. Photo by Jon A Ross.
Earth Animal Rescue Society (E.A.R.S.), the group that organized the transportation of over 200 feral rabbits from the Canadian town of Canmore to permanent sanctuary homes last year, is at work again. The town is still trying to manage a booming feral rabbit population which they say attracts coyotes and cougars to the area. Recently, they have begun trapping and gassing the rabbits.
Susan Vickery of E.A.R.S has found a couple with a farmhouse northwest of Calgary who can provide permanent sanctuary to 50 rabbits.
“They’ve had a lot of dealings with rabbits themselves over the years,” Vickery said Tuesday. “They enjoy them. They know their nature. And they respect their right to live.”
One former Canmore bunny recovers from spay/neuter surgery at Edmonton’s Southside Animal Hospital.
Last year, the Canadian town of Canmore, located about 60 miles west of Calgary, had a big problem. Abandoned pet rabbits had bred with each other and caused a feral rabbit explosion. Town officials initially planned to cull the rabbits, but a public campaign and the Earth Animal Rescue Society (EARS) made it possible to sterilize them and relocate them to sanctuaries.
From January until April, the town of Canmore trapped and sterilized hundreds of feral rabbits. These rabbits are now happily living in local sanctuaries.
EARS plans to break from the trapping for the summer and resume in October to catch the remaining rabbits.
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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.
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Save Canmore Bunnies