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Why one expert believes YVR rabbits could pose a risk to travellers
RICHMOND -- At first there were just a couple. Two rabbits were spotted at Vancouver International Airport around this time last year.
But bunnies will be bunnies.
“The next thing we knew, it was spring, and there were rabbits all over the place,” said Sorelle Saidman, founder of Rabbitats Rescue Society.
The group has been monitoring the animals and figures there are now 30 to 50 grazing the lawn near the airport's international terminal. Saidman has been urging YVR to capture and relocate them now, before it’s too late in the season and their population grows even more.
“These rabbits will be taken by hawks, they'll be grabbed by owls, and unfortunately the remains are not pretty,” she said, adding the airport doesn’t want to attract any more birds that can get caught in aircraft engines - which she said could have serious consequences.
YVR’s rabbits show little fear, suggesting some are likely abandoned pets. Bunnies also like to curl up under cars for shelter, and may have been driven to the airport from other parts of Richmond and Metro Vancouver.
Rabbitats helped the Richmond Auto Mall deal with its rabbit population and is willing to help the airport, but the group said its calls are not being returned.
In a statement, YVR told CTV News it is mapping the rabbits’ habitats and population.
“All of which will help us to identify the appropriate tools and techniques for a long-term solution,” the airport authority wrote.
Saidman warned if they wait too long, the only solution may be something drastic.
"They are telling us that they are not pursuing a lethal control," she said. "But, I'm not sure what they are doing … They have to act now for us to be able to get these rabbits out by mid-January."