Bunnies running wild in Northwest parks
The owners of a local animal sanctuary say Easter serves as a good time to urge would-be bunny owners to reconsider.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Green Lake and Woodland parks in Seattle, and the University of Victoria in British Columbia, are hopping with bunnies, and the owners of a local animal sanctuary say Easter serves as a good time to urge would-be bunny owners to reconsider.
The Precious Life Animal Sanctuary, a Sequim nonprofit, this week took in 51 bunnies captured at the Canadian university. The sanctuary had previously taken in 100 bunnies from the two Seattle parks.
Caryl Turner, who co-founded the sanctuary with her husband, Ralph, says this is an especially tough time for bunnies because oftentimes they are purchased for kids as Easter presents, but then soon are abandoned when the children lose interest.
"The main thing that we want to get out is the message that it's really cute to get your child a bunny for Easter, but they require care," she said. "They cannot survive on their own in the wild."
According to Turner, pet-store bunnies are not meant to be wild animals. They face numerous predators including coyotes, raccoons, hawks, bald eagles and people — especially those in cars.
"In Green Lake they would run out into traffic," Turner said.
The number of wild bunnies can quickly multiply, increasing the population of wild rabbits in Seattle parks. Green Lake and Woodland parks comprise 323.7 and 90.9 acres respectively, according to the Seattle Parks Department website.
Ralph Turner, a retired security director for Safeway, says there are many pet stores, such as one in Port Angeles that have "a big sign in front that says, 'Order your Easter Bunny now.' " However, he cautions people to consider the responsibility of acquiring a pet.
Turner on Friday took the feral bunnies to a veterinarian to get them checked out, so they can join another 100 rabbits from the two Seattle parks already at the 85-acre animal sanctuary. There they will have their own fenced-off area where they will be protected from other animals in the sanctuary.
The Turners founded the sanctuary, which takes in abandoned animals including dogs, cows, mustangs and wild turkeys, in 1999. According to Caryl Turner, the two have "always had an affinity for animals."
For more information about the sanctuary: www.preciouslifeanimalsanctuary.org.
David Krueger: 206-464-2212 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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