(Photo left: TRACS for Texas-bound Bunnies)
The University of Victoria bunny rescue effort is almost ubiquitous.
This issue has received a lot of press for a number of reasons: the damage caused by the rabbits, the inhumane treatment caused by trapping during breeding season, and the amount of resources spent by the university while making no progress in dealing with the animals.
However, following a court decision to allow the trapping and relocation of thousands of rabbits from the UVic campus, rescuers are scrambling to find a way to make that happen and solve UVic’s rabbit problem.
So, in the spirit of back-to-school, here is a word problem for those new freshmen at UVic; Say you have 700 bunnies living on campus that are the offspring of abandoned pets, and say they are eating all your landscaping and digging holes in the lawns.
One day, you decide they must be shipped off somewhere else, and a sanctuary in Texas offers to take some of them (others will stay on Vancouver Island.)
If you can trap approximately 30 rabbits per trip, make a stop in Richmond to have them spayed and neutered and head down south to Texas, how long will it take for all the rabbits to reach the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch and how much will it cost?”
If I were faced with this question on an exam, I would fail Rabbit Rescue 101, which is hopefully a required course at UVic by now.
As with so many real-world problems, we need a little more information.
First, it takes a few days for UVic staff to trap the rabbits and three or four days for the little guys to get fixed by the veterinary in Richmond.
The rabbits are then transported across the border to Washington so they are out of the country within the seven-day time period set by the Ministry of the Environment who apparently “digs” getting into the nitty-gritty of abandoned pet-bunny management.
The drive to Wild Rose Rescue Ranch is 3,869 km, and the truck from Washington State to Texas comes up infrequently. The answer: it will take about five to six months to move the rabbits (if all goes well), but the Ministry has given TRACS for Texas-bound Bunnies until roughly the end of November to get the job done or the rabbits will be killed by the university.
TRACS for Texas-bound Bunnies is an ad hoc organization which includes The Responsible Animal Care Society (TRACS) in Westbank, B.C.
They are one of many organizations working on the UVic rabbit rescue, but TRACS is transporting and spaying/neutering the 700 Texas-bound rabbits.
And with only three months, instead of six months to implement this bunny road trip, TRACS needs our help to speed things along.
While a generous donation from FurBearer Defenders is paying for some of the costs, volunteers are needed to help drive the bunnies across the border and assist with the post spay/neuter surgery recovery of the rabbits.
Moreover, TRACS is in need of donations of rabbit pellets, bales of hay, fresh produce, animal carriers, water bottles and gas cards to pay for the transportation costs.
TRACS has also made a special plea to residents of local farms to provide a temporary resting area where the rabbits can safely await transport to the States.
Furthermore, volunteers are needed to hold fundraisers for this three-month rescue effort, and this is a great opportunity to get involved in helping animals for a short period of time.
With your help, the UVic rabbits will be speaking with a Texas accent by Christmas time – a much better future than their impending doom at UVic.
To help the Texas-bound bunnies call TRACS (Vancouver) at (604) 551-9297 or donate online at http://www.tracs-bc.ca/uvicbun.html.
Christie Lagally is a pet columnist. View her blog at christielagally.wordpress.com.