Vancouver Sun - Feral rabbits in Richmond can be humanely killed, adopted as pets, or exported to rabbit sanctuaries in the U.S. but not allowed to live out their lives in sanctuaries in B.C. according a wildlife biologist with the provincial government. Brent Gurd said once rabbits are released by pet owners, they’re considered feral animals — non-native invasive species.
In Richmond, feral rabbits remain a nuisance at the city’s auto mall, which wants to find new homes for about 300 rabbits. Gurd said if the auto mall is willing to pledge financial support for the rabbits in a sanctuary, the ministry might consider looking at that option. But he said the ministry hasn’t had any discussion with Richmond Auto Mall about supporting a sanctuary.
Gail Terry, the mall’s general manager, said what the mall wants to do is catch the rabbits, spay them, and contain them in a secure home where they can’t escape. But she feels she’s come up against a brick wall with the provincial government and its refusal to allow the rabbits to be caught and sent to a sanctuary, as was done with feral rabbits in Victoria.
Terry said the auto mall is willing to contribute toward covering the cost of spaying and neutering and help develop rabbit habitats to house the animals. The organization the Richmond Auto Mall wants to work with in solving the feral rabbit problem is Rabbitats Rabbit Rescue operated by Sorelle Saidman.
Based on a sanctuary in Maine called Rabbitats for Humanity, Saidman proposes a bulk rescue idea for 50 to 80 rabbits at a time. She said if the provincial government was willing to allow the sanctuaries on agricultural land, she would be able to operate them on sites already offered in Surrey, Delta and Maple Ridge.
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Written by Kevin Griffin
Photo by Wayne Leidenfrost