Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


BC government ratcheting up war against abandoned bunnies in Victoria interchange

August 16, 2016 Global News BC

Despite the best efforts of ministry staff and volunteers to control a herd of rabbits inhabiting a Victoria interchange, they’re multiplying, as rabbits tend to do.

But the increased bunny population in the boulevard at the Helmcken Trans-Canada interchange in the View Royal community is not just about ‘what happens in nature’, it’s in large part due to people still dropping off their pet rabbits in the area.

“Despite [the ministry’s and volunteers] hard work, additional rabbits are still being dropped off,” Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone said in a statement. “This is very disappointing, and means we have to put new measures in place to protect the travelling public as well as our transportation infrastructure.”

In February, local volunteers offered up the money to spay, neuter and relocate the herd south of the border to a sanctuary. At the time the herd was numbered to be about 80 rabbits.

While rabbits are cute and furry, when it comes to a busy interchange, they become a distraction for drivers and a potential hazard for all road users. And under the Wildlife Act, releasing or abandoning animals carries possible fines of $345 per offence.

Considerable progress had been made in the project of capturing, spaying/neutering, and relocating the rabbits in the Helmcken interchange when about 20 more adult rabbits were released in the area, according to the ministry.

Now Stone says new signs and a security camera will be installed on Highway 1 at the interchange to discourage people from abandoning their rabbits in the area. Crews will also begin repairing the areas damaged by the rabbit burrows, including the sidewalks, embankment and landscaping.

The ministry also pointed out that the money offered up in February by the province and local volunteers is limited and in the future, they may be forced to consider other solutions, which may include euthanization for any new rabbits found at the interchange.

“The rescue group is very happy that approximately 100 rabbit lives will be saved as a result of this project.  However, we are shocked and saddened that individuals continue to abandon rabbits at the Helmcken overpass site,” said Dr. Laurie Gaines.

“Abandoning pets outdoors is an unacceptable practice. Trespassing on the median and feeding the rabbits is also unacceptable. Anyone who is feeding the rabbits needs to stop immediately so that we have the best chance of rescuing the remaining animals.”

The ministry would like to remind people that abandoning rabbits outside is not a good practice and if you are not able to keep your pet, contact an animal shelter.

Comment: Uncaring people have dumped their unwanted rabbits here, and elsewhere for years. Humans are solely to blame for these situations. Sadly, this one was left virtually unchecked, and the sporadic efforts by a few volunteers were insignificant. Now that the rabbit population has exploded and there has been some media attention, it looks like the BC government has decided to react.

Unless there’s a massive shift in human consciousness we will continue to see history repeat itself.

Some of Rabbit Advocacy's PSAs: Domestic Rabbit Abandonment; Rabbit Multiplication; & Too Many Rabbits?

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Victoria General Hospital gives order to kill bunnies; humans to blame for incessant problems; rabbits now multiplying at Helmcken exit, View Royal; 2016 relocation efforts in the works