Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Exiled rabbits down by half

June 9, 2016 Ron Seymour, Kelowna Daily Courier

Half the rabbits once rounded up from Kelowna streets have gone to bunny heaven, says an animal protection group.

And while few feral rabbits are now seen around Kelowna, the rabbit population in the Central Okanagan could rise again if a small colony in West Kelowna is able to establish itself. “We have reports of some wild rabbits on the Westside, and if we can’t capture them, that number could grow to 30 or 50 in no time,” Cyndy Mymka of the Responsible Animal Care Society said Thursday morning.

The group, with about 30 members, was to hold its annual general meeting later Thursday.  “We’re always looking for new members because those we have tend to have been with us from the start,” Mymka said.

In 2009, TRACS won a contract from the City of Kelowna to deal with a widespread feral rabbit problem. About 800 of the animals were rounded up, sterilized and cared for in several specially-built pens.

The lifespan of rabbits varies from five to 12 years. There are now about 400 of the animals in TRACS’ pens. It costs the group about $5,000 a month to feed the animals, pay veterinarian bills and properly maintain the secure pens, Mymka said. Although there was some initial concern rabbits might escape from the enclosures, that hasn’t happened, she says.

In fact, TRACS has had visitors from the University of Victoria and the Richmond Auto Mall, both of which have struggled to deal with feral rabbit colonies on their properties.

Comment: Rabbit Advocacy also participated in the Kelowna rescue, receiving ten rabbits in November, 2008. The majority lived happily in our home for five years or more, with three of them still with us today. 

Contrast this with the UVic campus rabbits relocated to Coombs in late 2010 to early 2011. Roughly 75% of the approximate 550 were dead within three years, many within the first year! Betrayed by Susan Vickery, Earthanimal Humane Education and Rescue Society (EARS) operator, whose narcissism, negligence and deluded reality caused so many premature deaths. According to her, the surviving 147 animals were moved to a location in Alberta in the summer of 2015.

Unfortunately, Vickery discouraged volunteers and others willing to assist with day-to-day operations. The BC SPCA, government officials, and others were notified of ongoing problems, yet she was allowed to carry on.

Animal rescue is unregulated, leaving it wide open for the good and bad to operate. As a society, we need to do much more to protect the vulnerable, non-human species who rely on us for their well-being and survival. Never look the other way or be complacent – silence and denial are barriers to justice.

 “Perhaps you notice how the denial is so often the preface to the justification.” Christoper Hitchens

Read more by visiting our Pet Stores/Rabbits/Legislation page