Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
Jericho Park: Jacked rabbits
April 16, 2012 Sandra Thomas, Vancouver Courier
I received emails from two rabbit rescue groups last week concerned that vital habitat for bunnies is being removed from Jericho Beach Park.
Volunteers from both Vancouver Rabbit Rescue and Advocacy and the Rabbit Advocacy Group of B.C. claimed a park board bulldozer was destroying the rabbit habitat that’s been at the park for decades.
Not everyone is a fan of the park’s bunnies, many of which were dumped at the park by their owners, because they’re not indigenous and breed like, well, rabbits. But others love the rabbits and regularly feed them. The rescue groups are concerned because it’s nesting time, which means baby bunnies are tucked away in the blackberry bushes now being removed.
Carmina Gooch from Rabbit Advocacy Group of B.C. emailed that she believes the city and park board “have a duty to act in a responsible manner and to explore options other than destroying habitat and any species who might get in their way... It is the height of recklessness and callousness to thoughtlessly go in and rip rabbits from their home or bulldoze them to death. Those with authority always seem to do what they think is easy and what they can get away with. Not today; animal welfare, rights, and protection issues are very much on the public’s mind.”
Park board spokesperson Joyce Courtney told me that while the blackberry bushes are being removed as part of the Jericho Beach restoration plan, bulldozers are not being used and a biologist has been hired to help transfer the rabbits safely from the blackberry bushes to another secluded area of the park. She says small mowers are being slowly pushed across the area and when rabbits are found they’re being “herded” to safety.
Courtney says park board staff met with members of the rabbit rescue groups Monday morning (April 16) to hear their concerns and the work was temporarily halted. Courtney also notes the excavation work is part of the restoration plan around the Jericho Wharf, which was approved by the public after more than a year of consultation, including thee open houses.
Comment: A rally was held this morning in which Tiina Mack, Parks, provided information and fielded questions from the public on the “restoration project.” A number of concerns, such as the consequences of interfering with Mother Nature, and the public consultation process were addressed.
Please sign the petition, “Preserve our Habitat” requesting that removal of shrubbery and blackberry bushes be stopped, and that further consultation for management of the site be started. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.