vegansaurus!

09/30/2010

Canadian rabbit insanity part II: EXODUS OF THE BUNS  »

Remember four months ago, when the internet went a little nuts for the story of the “feral” rabbits living on basically every grassy space on the University of Victoria campus in British Columbia, Canada? Your Vegansaurus was skeptical about applying that “feral” adjective because of the the rabbits’ behavior in the videos—they were so calm around people! Which is shockingly atypical wild rabbit behavior! Frankly it is sometimes shockingly atypical companion rabbit behavior, for the more nervous of our bunny pals. It made us curious about the origins of these INVASIVE RABBIT HORDES, and how they had come to be, within a few generations, so remarkably nonchalant surrounded by loud, stompy human beings all the time.


Thanks to Rebecca Dube from the Globe and Mail, we finally have an answer: people have been dumping their rabbits on the campus. About 1,600 bunnies live at UVC right now, and while the authorities have considered the “feral” rabbit population a Big Problem for about 20 years, apparently it’s finally big enough for them to consider it a Big Actionable Problem.

What gave us serious pause (zing) was what action the authorities would take. This story only garnered international media attention when the University made its problems with the bunnies public; and once the internet got to giggle at the idea of rabbits “taking over” humans’ space, the internet—i.e., the rest of the world—stopped paying attention. The Rabbit Hordes were still Wreaking Havoc, though, and British Columbia still intended to Do Something about them.

The initial plan was to kill them. Surprise! People love to kill Problem Animals. Thank goodness there are other, good people who don’t! Rabbit activists and Canada Green Party members helped arrange transfer of 1,000 members of the Rabbit Hordes to the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch in Whitehouse, Tex. Can you believe it? The U.S. did Canada a solid! It’s a beautiful thing. They’re able to move this many bunnies—up to 96 at a time—internationally with a permit from The Responsible Animal Care Society, a Canadian nonprofit group that is currently trying to raise money for the transport of all 1,000 rabbits.

If you have any spare change, please please please donate to the bunny transport fund! Wild Rose Rescue has so much space for them to run and play, and of course they’re all being fixed first, so there won’t be another Rabbit Horde explosion. They take donations through Paypal, so all us non-Canadians can give our foreign money worry-free.

[photograph of veterinarian Joseph Martinez by Steve Bosch, Vancouver Sun]

Now, what about the remaining 600 rabbits? That’s also in progress. It appears the plan is to spay or neuter all of those rabbits as well (of course!), and move about 400 of them to “safe havens” elsewhere in British Columbia. According to the university’s “long-term rabbit management plan,” after all the bunnies have been trapped and sterilized, 200 may continue to live on campus.

We really admire the work all the rabbit activists did on behalf of the Rabbit Hordes. Making such complicated arrangements clearly wasn’t easy, and they still have lots to do. The bunnies never meant to cause trouble; they never should have been living on the University of Victoria campus, and these are good people saving the victims of other people’s selfish mistakes. Again, if you can, give a little to help get the bunnies down to Texas. Do your bit to save the Rabbit Hordes.

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