Canada ’08: The Great Bunny Hunt
Since driving from the airport on our initial day back in Kelowna almost three weeks ago one thing struck me straight away. On the tidy green grass verges all around the city are hundreds of domestic bunnies scampering around playfully everywhere. Domestic certainly, these are not the wild rabbits seen commonly in the UK but rather, big, floppy-eared creatures that look like they belong in a cosy hutch in the back garden. They’re pretty cute actually sitting on the borders of the roads and highways with huge pick-up trucks thundering past them with the roar of their huge engines providing a counterpoint to the gentle nibbling of the bunnies. It’s reported that there are up to 700 of them are scattered around Kelowna.
In fact the original Kelowna rabbits were domestic pets that were either turned out of house and home or alternatively escaped, I am assured. Bunnies being what they are (and what they do best) are now taking over the city much to some people’s chagrin.
There are a number of lobbies and just as many opinions about what course of action to take about the animals. Thankfully the majority don’t coincide with the actions taken by two thugs reported in The Kelowna Daily Courier this week. A security guard spotted a 24 year-old man and his 14 year-old brother mindlessly attacking some of the rabbits with 1.5 metre-long sticks. Happily those two look to be facing charges of cruelty to animals.
Any day now, EBB Environmental is due to trap and kill the feral rabbits. No actual date is to be released due to threats received from individuals and groups prepared and ready to disrupt the cull. Three methods have been released according to a city representative. Perhaps none will be suitable for animal lovers but the methods proposed are firstly to trap the rabbits and give them to groups such TRACS who have been involved in saving the rabbits from the cull. Alternative propositions are to trap and then kill them by lethal injection and finally to trap and shoot them with high-powered rifles. The rabbits will then be offered to wildlife shelters as food.
What’s certain is that the future of Kelowna’s feral bunny population looks a bleak one. What a shame that this city problem has been allowed to grow to the proportions it has. Perhaps all stake-holders in this problem need to share a little blame for the Kelowna bunny’s plight.