Rabbits multiply trouble on school grounds

April 27, 2010 at 5:40 PM
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VICTORIA, British Columbia, April 27 (UPI) -- A Canadian university is struggling with an overabundance of rabbits, which are wreaking havoc on the campus grounds and vegetation, school officials said.

The University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, has been dealing with save-the-bunnies groups while dealing with the costly damage from the 1,500 to 2,000 rabbits on campus, the Victoria Times Colonist reported Tuesday.

The rabbits are the progeny of pets released on the campus in the 1980s and 1990s. The rabbits' spots, stripes and unusual colorings indicate they aren't indigenous to the area, the newspaper said.

"The University of Victoria has been for years conducting a misinformation campaign in order to justify their killing of abandoned domestic rabbits on campus," Roslyn Cassells, an animal rights activist, told the Times Colonist. "Betrayal is the order of the day at the University of Victoria, where a large-scale night-time shooting of over 1,000 abandoned pet rabbits is imminent."

"I don't think this would be happening if it was snakes," said Tom Smith, the university's facilities management director.

There is no secret cull of rabbits, no poison boxes, no night-time shootings and no plan for a mass rabbit extermination, Smith said.

A university plan, which is expected to be released in June, will include provisions for vasectomy and sterilization programs and for rabbit advocacy groups to provide approved rabbit sanctuaries.

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