Rabbits gnaw away on the soil embankment next to the Helmcken Road interchange in View Royal at the Trans-Canada Highway. While a large number of the animals were transported from the site some months ago

Rabbits still being released onto View Royal exit median

New security measure coming to the Helmcken interchange

Despite efforts from a local group of volunteers and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, people are still abandoning rabbits on the Helmcken interchange in View Royal.

According to the province, approximately 20 adult rabbits have recently been released at the interchange, creating another hurdle for crews trying to trap and relocate the area’s rabbit population.

In an attempt to discourage any more animals from being abandoned at the site, new signs and a security camera will soon be installed to help monitor the area for any unauthorized activity, which includes members of the public feeding the remaining rabbits. Crews will also begin repairing areas damaged by the rabbit burrows, including compromised roadways and sidewalks, the embankment and landscaping.

“Thanks to the dedication and best efforts of Ministry staff and a group of local volunteers, only a few rabbits are left to be captured at the interchange,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone in a release. “Despite this hard work, additional rabbits are still being dropped off. This is very disappointing, and means we have to put new measures in place to protect the travelling public as well as our transportation infrastructure.”

Earlier this year, the Ministry announced it would be re-locating the original population of roughly 100 rabbits to a private sanctuary in the United States. A local volunteer group that included Hillside Veterinary Hospital vet Laurie Gaines had approached the Ministry last fall, offering the funds to spay or neuter and relocate the rabbits.

“The rescue group is very happy that approximately 100 rabbit lives will be saved as a result of this project. However, we are shocked and saddened that individuals continue to abandon rabbits at the Helmcken overpass site,” Gaines stated in the same release. “Abandoning pets outdoors is an unacceptable practice. Trespassing on the median and feeding the rabbits is also unacceptable. Anyone who is feeding the rabbits needs to stop immediately so that we have the best chance of rescuing the remaining animals.”

The Ministry is reminding the public that by releasing rabbits beside the highway, they are not only putting the animals at risk, but putting road users in danger. The province also warned that if rabbits continue to be abandoned at the site, it will be forced to consider other solutions, including euthanization.

Under the Wildlife Act, abandoning or releasing animals can result in a fine of $345 per offence.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula steps into post-pandemic phase

Pending partial re-opening of local schools signals new start

Craft vendors allowed to re-join Goldstream Farmers Market

Dr. Bonnie Henry lightens restrictions, approves non-food items to be sold

Three people sent to hospital following serious crash in View Royal

Incident involved a motorcycle and one vehicle on Sunday afternoon

Saanich high school student wins free educational trip through Europe

Beaverbrook Vimy Prize centers on First, Second World War history

Province recognizes three Greater Victoria residents for work to combat racism

The three residents were recognized during the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read