Community

Rabbit relocation effort heading into high gear

Richmond has a large rabbit population. - Matthew Hoekstra photo
Richmond has a large rabbit population.
— image credit: Matthew Hoekstra photo

The people behind the Richmond Auto Mall have been trying to do the right thing for a long time while not stepping on anyone’s toes.

But with the cold harsh winter around the corner, mall general manager Gail Terry said there’s no more time for inaction.

“But with winter coming, the Auto Mall and the rabbits can no longer wait for the politics to sort themselves out, thus they will be moving forward by preparing the locations that have already been offered for these rabbits,” Terry said in a press release. “(The mall) will also be putting out a call for homes to adopt these rabbits and land to host ‘rabbitats’ while concurrently working on permission to do so. The Auto Mall is appealling to all animal lovers and nature fans to help with the relocation project.”

Terry invites people willing to volunteer, adopt or donate, to call the BunnyHope line at 604-273-3243, or e-mail we-care@richmondautomall.com or rabbitats@gmail.com.

Terry said there are thousands of abandoned pet rabbits and their offspring who currently call the city home, with the auto mall one of the most high profile locations.

“With rabbits dying daily on the roads around the property and with many dealerships heading into a heavy period of construction, it has become imperative that these little critters are moved to safety immediately if not sooner,” Terry said.

The effort to relocate the rabbits has been challenging, she said.

“A domestic pet rabbit is reclassified as wildlife as soon as he/she is abandoned. ‘Fluffy’ can’t be recaptured without a permit, and permit applications are only supported with a very, very narrow criteria and an awful lot of red tape,” Terry said.

The province has indicated through its Fish and Wildlife department that it would prefer the rabbits to be killed.

To which Terry replied: “That is an option we will never support.”

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