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Please do not abandon domestic bunnies

Letter writer outlines why domestic rabbits do not belong in the wild


Due to several recent events of domestic rabbits being abandoned around Smithers and Telkwa area, I feel compelled to educate people on why this is a bad choice.

Nothing is cuter than seeing a bunch of bunnies happily munching on dandelions on a sunny spring day. However, domestic rabbits very different than our wild rabbits. They are not physically equipped to live free like wild ones. Green grass does not have enough nutrients to sustain life, nor do most wild plants that grow in the Bulkley Valley.

Domestic rabbits have very different dietary needs. They can also carry a variety of diseases such as hemorrhagic disease that can contaminate and kill wild rabbit colonies.

A mature female (doe) can reproduce every 31 days and can become pregnant again after only 2-4 days after giving birth. The average litter can consist of 5-10 babies (kits). That means if five does and one buck are abandoned to live life on the wild side, they can produce up to 50 kits. If all the kits are female and breed at 3-4 months of age, they can produce an additional 500 more rabbits in six months. This is how rabbit populations explode.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, domestic rabbits most often die in the wild an awful death caused by starvation or are killed by predators. They also inherently lack the “street smarts” wild rabbits are born with making them easy targets.

Rabbits left unmanaged can cause a world of problems, they can ruin foundations on houses, chew electrical wiring, eat gardens, dig up lawns and become a nuisance.

Please, do not dump or abandon domestic rabbits,. You are not sending them off to a happy, free life. You are sentencing them to a painful prolonged death sentence or destroying natural ecosystems.

There are options. Please try to re-home them. There are lots of farming or rabbit groups on social media that will gladly accept your rabbits.

You could place an ad in the Interior News.

Ask for help, there are a lot of knowledgeable, helpful people in this community who would gladly assist no matter what the situation.

As a very last resort culling the rabbit would be a much more humane option than dumping it.

If you see an abandoned animal, no matter what species, you can contact the Conservation RAPP line and report it.

Domestic rabbits can make wonderful pets or livestock and they can be quite entertaining, but they must have proper care and management.

Also, a huge thank you to Lacey Kueper, Roseanne Taylor, Bob and Joanne Burt, Carina Bella, Northern Lights Wildlife Society and everyone for your assistance and support in trapping and re-homing the bunnies dumped at the Bluff Trails.


Jana Harmati