Bunny conundrum: to kill or not to kill? – Kelowna Daily Courier

Article credit and link to original: Ron Seymour – Kelowna Daily Courier published March 18, 2008

All options for dealing with Kelowna‘s rabbit problem – including killing them – will be considered, but city councillors have a clear bias for trapping and relocating the wild bunnies.

Council agreed unanimously Monday to invite societies and businesses to submit plans to cope with the rapidly expanding rabbit population, variously estimated at between 500 and 2,000.

“It appears that the problem is more widespread than we thought,” said pest control supervisor Ian Wilson, citing reports of rabbit colonies beyond Enterprise Way to include the Mission, Southeast Kelowna, Glenmore and downtown.

The request for proposals will be issued next week, with a recommendation back to council within a month on which rabbit-control program should be endorsed and paid for by the city.

“We‘re going to work on this as quickly as we can,” Wilson said, after several councillors noted springtime is breeding season for rabbits.

While the request for proposals will entertain culling the rabbits as a possible control measure, several councillors spoke in favour of what they say is a more humane approach to trap, sterilize and relocate the rabbits into sex-separated, specially built enclosures.

Coun. Carol Gran, who earlier endorsed culling as the most “common sense” approach, said Monday she‘d changed her mind after meeting a class of Grade 3 students.

The children, she said, couldn‘t understand why the city would be willing to kill the rabbits.

“We have to be very careful about the message we send to kids,” Gran said, explaining her change of heart on the issue in favour of trapping and relocating the rabbits.

“We should do everything possible to treat them (the rabbits) humanely,” added Coun. Norm Letnick.

The rabbits have destroyed thousands of dollars worth of landscaping at businesses along Enterprise Way, and their burrowing action is said to pose a threat to underground utilities and the stability of foundations.

They could also spread disease, Coun. Robert Hobson said, and could cause serious damage to agricultural crops if their numbers spread into farming areas.

“Of course, it is the week before Easter, so we have to be nice to bunnies,” Hobson said sarcastically.

Nevertheless, Hobson also supported the call for a request for proposals from people who say they have a way for dealing with the rabbits.

“That will allow us to compare options and find out what it will cost to do it (a control program) in a variety of ways,” Hobson said.

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