There has been a rabbit overpopulation problem in several parts of British Columbia for many years. In some cases attempts to solve the problem have been at least partially successful. The Vancouver Sun recently published an article about not only rabbits but also other kinds of wildlife that can be problematic. Here are highlights as reported by Stephen Hume.
Across B.C., municipalities, health authorities and universities are trying to grapple with the fallout from well-meaning but irresponsible pet owners who release rabbits into public parks and green spaces surrounding public institutions like hospitals and campuses.
According to animal welfare organizations, the overbreeding and abandonment of rabbits has now forced the District of North Vancouver, Kelowna, Victoria and Saanich to pass bylaws mandating the spaying and neutering of rabbits sold as pets. Richmond and New Westminster, reports the SPCA, have simply banned the sale of rabbits from pet stores outright.
And the SPCA argues that more municipalities should adopt such approaches as “an important keystone of humane, livable communities by preventing animal suffering, eliminating neighbourhood nuisance and saving taxpayers money.”
In Victoria, for example, the practice of releasing bunnies at the University of Victoria resulted in a destructive plague. Well over 1,000 hungry rabbits ate their way through decorative vegetation, stripped bark from trees, killing some specimens up to half a metre in diameter and left their droppings — and corpses — everywhere. One cost the university bore was removing up to five rabbits a day killed by on-campus traffic.
At first, the university tried restricting released bunnies to a rabbit zone but that failed. Not only did rabbits not acknowledge the boundary, they actually became a human hazard, burrowing into lawns and playing fields with such abandon that one rugby player, for example, suffered a severe ankle fracture when he stepped into a hidden rabbit tunnel.
At that point, the university reverted to trapping rabbits, then sterilizing and transporting them to a sanctuary elsewhere on Vancouver Island. More than 200 rabbits even went to a sanctuary in Texas.
To read the entire article please visit http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Wild+things+running+fast+into+urban+core/8505994/story.html#ixzz2Vwedep7P
We must take issue with Mr. Hume’s initial statement that rabbits are perfect pets for children. On the contrary it is because rabbits can be so difficult with children that so many of them are dumped in parks and university campuses. The House Rabbit Society (http://rabbit.org) states that rabbits are very different from the stereotype cuddly bunnies as portrayed in story books. Most rabbits dislike being picket up, held and cuddled. It frightens them and they can be injured very easily. Their sharp teeth and nails can also injure children who do not approach them correctly. For these reasons rabbits are not recommended as good pets for young children.