200 feral rabbits in Alberta being neutered
Bunnies will be taken to sanctuaries outside Calgary after operations
By the end of the day Monday, 187 feral rabbits from Canmore, Alta., will have been snipped and clipped, avoiding their original fate of being euthanized.
The animals were rounded up from the mountain town where about 2,000 formerly domestic rabbits were running wild. The animals started out as pets but were released in the 1990s and began reproducing.
The animals will be spayed and neutered at the Animal and Bylaw services building in Calgary on Sunday and Monday. Afterwards, they will be taken to sanctuaries north and west of the city.
Local veterinarians and technicians volunteered their time and all the supplies for the undertaking were donated.
"We have the lights and heat on anyway, so there is no cost to the Calgary taxpayer," said Animal and Bylaw services officer Bill Bruce.
The clinic is the culmination of a plan to save some of the rabbits. It began more than a year ago, when the town of Canmore announced its plan to destroy the animals.
B.C.-based animal rights group Earthanimal Humane Education and Rescue Society (EARS) spearheaded the effort to save the rabbits.
"I never thought that these animals deserved to pay the price for irresponsible human behaviour," said Susan Vickery, director of the not-for-profit organization.
Only 10 per cent of the rabbits will be taken to sanctuaries, but EARS is trying to raise money so that more rabbits can be gathered and saved.
Bruce said he believes not culling the rabbits is the humane thing to do.
"If you have a bunny you don't want anymore, for heaven's sakes don't release it in the wild," he said.