UVic officially rabbit-free

As relocation permits expire, any new rabbits will be killed

If there are any rabbits left on University of Victoria grounds, they can no longer be saved.

As of today (April 1), the provincially mandated permits allowing sanctuaries to accept rabbits from UVic expire and the school is not renewing them. That means any rabbit found on campus will be killed.

Three rabbits were trapped in the past two weeks, and on Monday Tom Smith, the university’s director of facilities management, said they were officially rabbit free.

“We think the hawks have taken care of the last few (we thought we’d find) … so this is where we’re at: there are no rabbits left,” Smith said.

Now that the permits are expired, grounds crews will trap any rabbit they spot on campus, then contact a professional trapper permitted to handle wildlife who will euthanize the animal humanely.

UVic has seen an exponential growth in its feral rabbit population since the early 1990s. The problem stemmed from pet owners dumping their unwanted pets on the grounds, the university not intervening and the rabbits subsequently breeding like rabbits.

The school estimated the animal population reached upwards of 1,500 last year. Since the fall, the university relocated 902 rabbits to sanctuaries. Another 102 were euthanized last May.