Feral rabbit population booming in Calgary parks

There are a lot of rabbits roaming around many Calgary parks and in peoples' yards this summer.

Many of the bunnies used to be pets, wildlife expert says

The city asks that people not feed the quickly-proliferating number of feral rabbits living in Calgary parks. (CBC)

There are a lot of rabbits roaming around many Calgary parks and in peoples' yards this summer.

At Lindsay Park in the city's southwest, the fluffles of bunnies seem to be all over the place.

But while they are temptingly cute, the city is asking people not to feed them because they are considered wildlife.

Andrea Hunt, executive director of the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, says many of the rabbits started off in people's homes.

"Mostly they were animals that were accidently — I hope accidently, but accidently or on purpose — released from people who owned them as pets."

Many of the rabbits living in Calgary parks and yards used to be house pets. (CBC)

She said once they've been living outdoors, they become feral, which makes it difficult to keep them as pets again.

The rabbits are resilient and most can adapt to survive over the winter, Hunt said.

The city doesn't track the rabbits, so it's unclear how many are roaming the city's green spaces.

"The animals are sort of in no-man's land because they're not really wildlife, so they don't really fall within the work that we do," she said.

But they're also feral, so they're not really, like, they can't really be pets, so they don't really fall very well into work that other organizations are doing either."

An wildlife expert says rabbits that started out as pets and get left outside to become feral are quite able to adapt and survive, even in winter. (CBC)


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