YVR suspends rabbit culling after outcry

YVR said the culling was used "as a last resort at the time."

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) says it has suspended its cull of feral rabbits near the airport. Richmond News file photo

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) says it has suspended its cull of feral rabbits after “hearing from the community on different options.”

A Richmond rabbit group was among those upset about the rabbits being shot.

CTV News reported on Tuesday it learned of “a man with an active firearm” shooting the rabbits in the middle of the night at the airport.

The culling was reportedly taking place near an airport hotel for the last few weeks.

YVR didn’t comment on how exactly the rabbits were being culled, saying only that it had suspended its wildlife management program on Wednesday.

According to the airport’s statement posted to its website, the rabbits – which are an invasive species and carry disease – attract predators, posing a “significant and immediate risk to airfield safety.”

“As traffic at the airport has slowed, we have seen a considerable increase in this feral rabbit population. As such, we undertook culling activities to manage population and associated risks,” YVR said in its statement, adding this was considered humane, safe and efficient, and was used as a “last resort at the time.”

“Safety protocols were followed and posed no risk to operations, employees or passersby.”

d structures rather than wild areas and they tend to live in colonies, unlike native wild rabbits and eastern cottontails.

“They can easily be converted back to pets and be adopted out or live happily in our sanctuaries,” she said.

“We want assurances that Rabbitats will be contacted about any remaining rabbits.”

In its statement posted online, YVR said it will be working with “independent scientists, wildlife experts and community partners to re-evaluate methods and determine alternative solutions.”

- Kirsten Clarke, Richmond News