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Saving bunnies presents problems

Whether you love or hate Canmore’s feral rabbits, and there’s little wavering from one of those opposing viewpoints, the thought of culling them, or not, from the town presents all manner of interesting aspects.
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Whether you love or hate Canmore’s feral rabbits, and there’s little wavering from one of those opposing viewpoints, the thought of culling them, or not, from the town presents all manner of interesting aspects.

And, being that Canmorites are about split as to love/hate ratio, no matter which way events turn, someone is going to be mightily disappointed.

Are they nuisances, or lovable Leporidae? Garden grazers or disease-ridden mobile biohazards?

Again, it depends on your point of view.

But, after 20-odd years of rabbits/bunnies being an issue or non issue, again depending on your point of view, the very idea that town council okayed their removal was a bold step – joining both Kelowna and Victoria, B.C. in becoming towns that killed the bunnies.

Even prior to the last municipal election, there were those who tried to raise bunnies as an issue, as if any politician hoping to become elected would condemn the furry creatures prior to the vote.

But to its credit, the present day council decided to deal with the issue with finality several weeks ago.

That decision has been quickly altered.

Now, although hopefully not due to unruly protests put forward at Tuesday’s (July 5) council meeting, a new and interesting aspect is the fact that a Save Canmore Bunnies group has apparently effected a reprieve by vowing to capture, spay or neuter and ship to a sanctuary the bunnies – rather than see them destroyed by a Town-hired contractor.

For now, at least, the Town of Canmore is off the hook as the killers of the bunnies.

Maybe it was deft maneuvering on the part of the Town, but now, Save Canmore Bunnies must put not only its ‘protect the bunnies’ philosophy on the line, but the group must put its money where its mouth is in order to follow through. And clearly, the roughly half of Canmore residents who love the bunnies can ante up and help out.

The thing is, an offer to capture, neuter or spay, and ship to sanctuaries is likely fraught with technical difficulties which may be beyond the capabilities of even the most well intentioned.

At the least, by the time Save Canmore Bunnies approaches the town with dollars and a full plan, we imagine a very tight timeline will be in order. At the rate bunnies reproduce, no doubt an all-out onslaught of capture, veterinarian visits and shipping to sanctuaries will need to be made.

Hard to say if residents working part-time on a bunny solution will be able to cover the ground necessary within a given timeframe. It’s not hard to imagine an equilibrium being reached where the number of bunnies caught and removed would be balanced by breeding bunnies.

Questions remain. Will Save Canmore Bunnies raise sufficient funds for the rescue? Will Save Canmore Bunnies have private yard access or have to restrict their trapping to public areas? How many live traps will need to be purchased to be effective? Will veterinarians volunteer their neuter/spay expertise for an extended period of time?

In the end, as with so many things of a municipal government nature, saving bunnies will no doubt come down to dollars and sense.




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