For years former pet rabbits were being abandoned on campus, left to fend for themselves. Those abandoned and non-sterilized rabbits multiplied at an alarming rate.
Many of the rabbits started to wreck havoc on campus by leaving droppings, destroying vegetation and digging holes.
To address the issue, UVic trapped and killed over a hundred rabbits and there was a massive outcry from the public.
Through permits granted by the Province of BC to community organizations, the university arranged for the removal of more than 900 rabbits from campus to sanctuaries.
By agreement, the permit holders arranged to have all of the rabbits sterilized which was funded through the generous support of donors through our Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals.
Recently, we took a tour of EARS Sanctuary located in Coombs, BC. This sanctuary run by Susan Vickery is home to a large number of UVic rabbits (and a few rabbits from other life-threatening situations).
We are happy to report that the rabbits are doing well. They have settled nicely into their new home. All of the animals are spayed/neutered. Those who are not yet fixed are separated while waiting for their appointment.
Regarding the property, enclosures seemed fine. Lots of straw and alfalfa was provided. There is also a small grocery store down the street that has been providing fruit and veggies which is great.
In addition to UVic rabbits, EARS has become a haven for other abandoned and often pregnant rabbits. Susan has also been very busy providing for these furry families.
As for UVic itself, The University of Victoria officially declared the campus to be rabbit-free in spring 2011. Any abandoned pet rabbits released on campus in the future will be humanely trapped and killed.
Enjoy the photos from EARS!