Jackrabbits relocating to Saskatoon in droves, says expert
Wildlife rescuers working around the clock to give orphaned rabbits a new home
Amanda Bullin, an interpreter with the Meewasin Valley Authority, has noticed a growing trend around Saskatoon these days.
Jackrabbits. And lots of them, everywhere from the industrial areas of Saskatoon to the city's downtown core.
"The reports of seeing more babies and more rabbits around are more than they kind of used to be," Bullin said. "Walking down the street, I see at least two every day now, and they're everywhere."
In the country they've really declined, there's real declines all over Saskatchewan. In the city, they are definitely on the upswing.- John Polson, Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan
The recent influx of jackrabbits comes as no surprise to John Polson of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan. A wildlife biologist by trade, Polson has dedicated endless hours rescuing jackrabbits, and other forms of wildlife, around the city.
"This winter particularly we noticed jackrabbits everywhere, lots in residential areas and actually right in the downtown area," Polson said.
Again, it's no big surprise to Polson, who said the critters are pretty adaptable to the city. He said jackrabbits are very savvy when it comes to their surroundings, and they possess a certain degree of street smarts.
"They're really adapted to traffic, we get very few calls for injured ones," he said.
Saskatoon isn't a bad place at all for jackrabbits, given the relative absence of predators. But Polson believes the main reason why so many of them are heading for the city lies in what's going on in the country.
He said heavy spraying on crops, combined with extensive cultivation and a high coyote population in outlying areas has the rabbits fleeing for Saskatoon.
"In the country they've really declined, there's real declines all over Saskatchewan," Polson said. "In the city, they are definitely on the upswing."
Leave jackrabbits alone
Polson advises people to leave the jackrabbits alone, unless they are led to believe that the animals are in a dangerous situation that they may not survive. More often than not, they've been left there intentionally by their mother.
The Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan is always available to rescue orphaned animals around the city. Their hotline is active 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. CST.
Polson said orphaned jackrabbits usually end up at a farm outside the city. Lately, the society has been using a farm in Borden, Sask., to provide the hares a fresh start out in the country.
If you'd like to report sightings of orphaned jackrabbits, or to volunteer for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan, call the organization's wildlife hotline at (306) 242-7177.