Not the Easter bunny: Public asked to keep clear of feral Jericho Beach rabbits

Click to play video: 'Public advised to avoid wild rabbits at Jericho Beach'
Public advised to avoid wild rabbits at Jericho Beach
WATCH: Ahead of Easter weekend, the Vancouver Board of Parks is appealing to the public not to release, feed or touch Jericho’s feral rabbit population for their sake and yours. – Apr 6, 2023

The Vancouver Park Board wants you thinking about bunnies this long weekend, but not the Easter kind.

Ahead of the annual holiday, the board is reminding the public to keep their distance from the city’s “fluffiest locals,” a colony of feral rabbits living around Jericho Beach.

“Drawn by their fluffy tails, twitching noses, and relative tameness, people often try to handle and feed them,” the park board said in a media release.

“But these interactions pose serious health threats to both the animals and the public and have a negative knock-on effect to the environment.”

The rabbit colony is an invasive population, whose ranks have been swelled by escaped and abandoned pets, according to the board.

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They pose a threat to other native species, it added, by out-competing them for food and space, while potentially damaging ecosystems, disrupting food sources and introducing parasites.

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The board is urging people not ever to release rabbits they’ve received as pets. Anyone who needs to surrender an animal they can no longer care for should contact the BC SPCA.

And it is reminding people not to feed the rabbits who are already there — pointing to fines of up to $500 for feeding wildlife.

Finally, the public is being reminded not to touch the animals, which can be distressing to them but also leaves people at risk of bites and scratches, as well as parasites such as ticks that can carry Lyme Disease.

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“While trying to get close to a small fluffy bunny can seem harmless, the best thing you can do for any wild animal gives it space, and observe from afar,” it said.

“If you have a dog, keep it under control, on a leash, and away from wildlife.”

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