Domestic rabbits released into the wild becoming problem once more in the Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Domestic rabbits released into the wild becoming problem once more in the Okanagan

Antoinette Monod, the founder of the Warren Peace Bunny Sanctuary, says people need to stop dropping off their bunnies in 'nice' places, as it's causing a population problem in the Okanagan Valley.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Warren Peace Bunny Sanctuary

LAKE COUNTRY - The Warren Peace Bunny Sanctuary in Lake Country is running out of space and needs help some financial help.

Antoinette Monod, the founder of the sanctuary, says the house more than 200 rabbit and after taking in bunnies from a horse farm in Keremeos, she expects the number to rise by at least 100.

The owners of the Similkameen farm dropped off five bunnies a few months ago thinking they were the only ones on the farm, Monod says, but by the time all the rabbits are removed the total will be closer to 150.

The Warren Peace Bunny Sanctuary takes in abandoned rabbits and other animals from all over the Okanagan.

According to Monad, most of her bunnies come from people who release them into the wild when they can no longer give them a home.

“A lot of people don’t realize that feral rabbits or hares are different than domestic bunnies,” Monad says. “Feral rabbits will dig deep down to create a warren - which will keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter, domestic bunnies don’t dig deep enough.”

Plus there's the high rate of rabbit reproduction.

Male rabbits are sexually active at four-months-old, while females are sexually active at six-months-old, she says. The average litter size for a rabbit is six to eight babies. Additionally, a female rabbit can have babies every thirty-one days. This means, in one year, two rabbits and their offspring can produce up to 400 rabbits.

Kelowna residents might remember 10 years ago when about 1,500 feral rabbits were rescued and relocated. About 900 of those rabbits went to the Warren Peace Bunny Sanctuary. The last of those rabbits died this past winter.

“We’re lucky because we have an acreage and can keep building,” Monod says. “But that doesn’t mean we have money.”

Monod mainly gets her funding from community donations through her Facebook page. She has applied for grants and funding, however says she’s not eligble because she is based in Lake Country.

“If your address is not in their jurisdiction, you can’t get the grants,” she says. “Even though we’re doing the work in these locations, because our address is only in Oyama we can’t get the funding.”

To help with the Valley’s growing bunny population, Monod says for people to think twice before dropping bunnies off in 'nice’ areas.

“If you need to give away your rabbit and can’t find a home, reach out to sanctuary organizations like us and we’ll help.”

Starting on April 15, the sanctuary is holding will be a three-month fundraising and awareness campaign. The campaign will kick-off with a ‘Hands-On With Bunnies!’ event at the Village Green in Vernon from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information on the campaign or information check out the Warren Peace Bunny Sanctuary website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Hickman or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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