The feral rabbits that have been inhabiting the Helmcken interchange area will soon have a safe home, thanks to the efforts of local volunteers, as well as ministry staff.
A volunteer group approached the ministry in the fall, offering the necessary funds to spay, neuter and relocate the rabbits. Since then, the ministry has been working closely with the group to organize the relocation. A plan is now in place to move the population of approximately 80 to 100 rabbits to a private sanctuary in the United States.
In the coming weeks, a professional trapper will begin to capture the rabbits. Once trapped, they will be spayed/neutered by local veterinarians, and subsequently relocated. For safety reasons and to ensure the success of the trapping efforts, the ministry is reminding drivers not to stop to try to feed, pat or catch the rabbits.
Rabbits at this location need to be removed, because they create a distraction for drivers and a potential hazard for all road users. Their burrows also undermine the sidewalk and affect the ability to maintain the median.
Once the rabbits have been trapped, crews will repair the areas damaged by the burrows and harden the infrastructure to discourage future attempts at recolonization.
Minister Todd Stone stated that the rabbits were creating a safety hazard and had to go, “this particular breed… they replicate very very quickly.”
“There are people slamming on brakes, dodging and moving around. Cars that are slowing down to take pictures. Just generally a significant safety hazard,” he tells C-FAX.
Stone urges anyone who can no longer care for a pet rabbit to deliver it to the SPCA rather than release it alongside a busy highway, or anywhere else. In addition to being unfair and inhumane to the rabbits, it creates public safety issues.