We have developed a map that flags abandoned rabbits, feral colonies, and RHD virus deaths.
This mapping project is still in development but an estimated 2,000 domestic rabbits are loose in Richmond, British Columbia, with more sightings every day.
While many areas so far just have random rabbits and small colonies, several have substantial populations, including hundreds in an area stretching from the Hwy 91 overpass north of the Richmond Auto Mall all the way to Ikea, substantial populations in the Dover Park area, and a long standing population in the Minoru Park area.
A five-year trapping program with a 10-year post-relocation containment period is required. The rabbits tend to come out in the evenings causing their numbers and locations to be underestimated.
A previous formula estimating 10 rabbits in hiding for every one spotted proved to be incorrect, less than twice as many appears to be more accurate.
- Feral rabbit control cannot be random, each area needs to be cleared methodically and completely, it does not make sense to trap part of a colony or a in an area where other colonies are close by.
- Trapping should take place from November to early January when their numbers drop and they will come into the traps for food.
- Trapping is almost impossible in the spring and early summer as the bait is no match for sweet spring grass.
- Trapping is accomplished via a mix of hav-a-hart animal traps, purpose-built enclosures and nets.
- The rabbits need to be placed in an indoor holding area for assessment and sterilization recovery.
- Abandoned house pets will continue to be housed indoors while the ferals and sturdier unadoptable pets are housed in outdoor enclosures or barns.
- A 10′ x 12′ horse stall can comfortably hold 30 rabbits.
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHDV-2)
- The feral rabbit populations have been the conduit for the deadly Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus outbreak (RHDV2).
- The virus, which only affects European rabbits, appeared mid-Vancouver Island and Annacis Island simultaneously in mid-February, killing all the feral rabbits in those areas and eventually affecting at least five Island rabbitries, killing all their commercial meat and show rabbits.
- It killed two large colonies in Richmond, including dozens of loose rabbits at Richmond Country Farms.
- It spread to the City’s animal shelter via feral rabbits on the property (not picked up by animal control), infecting and killing several rabbits and resulting in the euthanization of 64 others.
- Environment, Wildlife and Agriculture ministries have a vested interest in controlling this virus.