Saskatchewan

Regina's rabbit population control program suspended

A City of Regina spokesperson confirmed the program has been suspended due to people tampering with the traps.

City says they took some rabbits to a "remote location" and destroyed them

The City of Regina is looking at different population control methods to deal with rabbits in newer developed areas. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)

The rabbit population control program in Regina has been suspended. 

Regina had rabbit traps out in areas where the rabbit population was deemed problematic. In some cases, they took rabbits to "a remote location" and destroyed them, the city said.

On Thursday morning, a city spokesperson confirmed that the traps placed in Harbour Landing had been removed. 

The statement reads: "This is to advise that the two-week pilot project has been suspended because traps are being tampered with."

The city would not confirm if the suspension is temporary or permanent. 

Culls not the way to go: wildlife biologist

A Saskatoon wildlife biologist says Regina's strategy to reduce its rabbit population could backfire.

"As soon as you stop removing them, what happens [is] you've now produced a condition that's very good for the animal and they have higher birth rates and higher survival rates," John Polson, a wildlife biologist in Saskatoon, said.

Polson uses a catch-and-release method in Saskatoon and said culls usually don't work.

"The population sometimes actually increases and is higher than when you started."

The city began its rabbit control program, catching 27 animals. It released 10 and destroyed the other 17.

Russell Eirich, the City of Regina's manager of forestry, pest control and horticulture, said Tuesday that they haven't caught any this year but that it would be difficult to simply catch and release the rabbits in neighbouring rural municipalities.

"I don't think it's responsible … to offload our problem onto them," he said. 

Regina said it protects the trees by wrapping them. Polson said that is a good strategy. 

City of Regina spokesperson Russell Eirich says the city employs various deterrence methods in terms of rabbit population control - including wrapping tree trunks that have bark that rabbits like to eat - aside from trapping and euthanizing the animals. (Bryan Eneas/CBC News)

"It just makes so much more sense to protect the tree because there's other animals too that will nip at the trees," he said.

Polson also said that an increase in rabbit population wouldn't draw more predators to the city.  

With files from CBC Radio's The Morning Edition and Bryan Eneas

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.