New strategy for rounding up rabbits at University of Victoria

Universities have sometimes had to hunker down and find solutions for rambunctious students using the campus as their personal playground. But rabbits?

VICTORIA — Universities have sometimes had to hunker down and find solutions for rambunctious students using the campus as their personal playground. But rabbits?

The fluffy creatures have been an unique and growing feature of the University of Victoria for at least 15 years but officials have finally decided it’s time contain the cottontails.

Following less successful campaigns to discourage the public from feeding the feral animals and appealing for them to stop abandoning their pets, the university is launching a non-lethal roundup.

Joining with a wildlife damage-control company called Common Ground, it has launched a pilot project to capture, remove, spay or neuter and relocate the rabbits to new homes.

The exact means of capture hasn’t yet been worked out, university official Richard Piskor said.

“It needs to be safe, it needs to be humane and it needs to not have another detrimental impact on other animals on campus,” said Piskor, director of occupational health, safety and environment.

“Recognizing some rabbits seem to have very little fear of humans, other ones seem a little more skittish, the question is how can we capture them in a way that meets that criteria.”

Piskor said the university is taking stronger measures because of a growing concern the rabbits are a health risk.

Unlike cute cartoon bunnies, real rabbits have been known to bite humans. They burrow into the ground, creating holes that turn into trip hazards. They damage plant life and they leave piles and piles of droppings.

“If we’ve got students or athletes or community people, and you slip and fall on the course of your play and cut yourself, there’s potential for infection,” Piskor said. That’s why the pilot project will aim to remove about 150 rabbits from the athletic fields as its top priority, he said.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The RDC Queens picked up an extra special victory on home ice… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia will head to the polls today… Continue reading

All sharks tagged in N.S. expedition can now be tracked on Ocearch website

HALIFAX — All six of the sharks tagged in Nova Scotian waters… Continue reading

Memorial service for former PQ minister Lise Payette today in Montreal

MONTREAL — Mourners will gather to remember former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister… Continue reading

Immunotherapy scores a first win against some breast cancers

For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown… Continue reading

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Most Read