Thursday, October 27, 2011

Animal Advocates Rally for Canmore Bunnies

Canmore, Alberta - "Come on people, save the bunnies!" a woman wearing a headband with felt rabbit ears shouted toward passersby.

She was one of the several Save Canmore Bunnies supporters armed with signs, literature, and rabbit ears atop their heads who took to the streets last weekend to raise awareness for their cause.

Spokesperson Kyndra Biggy said the rally was used as an opportunity to remind Canmore residents that the town's feral rabbit population could be facing a potential cull, but there are non-lethal alternatives available for solving the rabbit problem.

In the mid 1980's, someone in Canmore released about a dozen domestic rabbits that have survived and thrived. Officials in the mountain community estimated earlier this year that there are 2,000 rabbits roaming the town, up from 1,000 four years ago.

The town set aside $50,000 last year to hire experts to cull the feral animals as concerns mounted that they were attracting more predators into Canmore.

In September, the Humane Society of Canada warned the town that it might face a legal fight. Michael O'Sullivan, chairman and CEO of the society, said the town should find an alternative to a cull, which he predicted would not solve the problem anyway.

A Vancouver Island rabbit advocate responsible for saving hundreds of bunnies on the University of Victoria campus has also set her sights on Alberta. Last year, Susan Vickery moved most of the feral bunnies that were overrunning the campus to her shelter near Coombs, B.C.

 "A couple of months ago, the mayor and council were going to rubber stamp culling the rabbits," Vickery said.

But after presentations by Vickery and Biggy, Mayor Ron Casey and council will now also consider non-lethal solutions.

The town is currently looking at several proposals to deal with the feral rabbit population, including both lethal and non-lethal solutions, said Mayor Casey, who hopes to have a solid option in place by early November.

Casey said he doesn't believe his town is divided on the matter. Most of the emails he has received complaining about ridding Canmore of its bunny problem are actually from places far from his community.

Town administration will present the most feasible proposals to council at the first meeting in November, with the best one expected to be put into action over the winter.

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  1. WOW - interesting. I'd like to get my hands on that person long ago that released all the bunnies into the wild to fend for themselves. That person should be prosecuted.