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Town Of Canmore Says 'No More' To Wild Rabbits

Some 2,000 rabbits have "overrun" the Canadian town of Canmore, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The bunnies are believed to be the progeny of pets — and their number has doubled in the past four years, according to Canada's CTV.

"There's often about eight on our lawn," one Canmore resident tells CTV. "They're everywhere."

But the same woman also added, "We think they're cute."

Saying that the rabbits are a nuisance that might also attract dangerous coyotes to their Alberta town, residents are calling on the city government to do something. City officials are considering either a cull of the rabbits, in which a number of them would be killed, or a trap and relocate program.

"I don't think you'd have to live here very long," says Canmore Mayor Ron Casey, "to see a coyote walking down a back alley with a big fat rabbit in its mouth."

The possibility that 1,000 or more rabbits might be killed has attracted the ire of Canada's Humane Society, reports the CBC, which notes that the town "set aside $50,000 last year to hire experts to cull the feral animals."

Canmore will decide what course to take later this month. And now the owner of a rabbit refuge is offering another option. But it would cost money, as CTV reports:

Susan Vickery, owner of a rabbit refuge on Vancouver Island, is looking to help Canmore with its problem. Vickery's refuge is home to 600 bunnies which once roamed the University of Victoria grounds.

She is trying to raise funds to capture, sterilize and re-house the Canmore rabbits to a safe place in Alberta. Vickery said she needs $130 per rabbit.

If Vickery were to take all 2,000 of the animals, the final bill would come to $260,000.

The CBC says the current rabbit population is thought to have begun when a resident released "about a dozen" rabbits in the middle 1980s.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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