Feral Rabbit Management Plan
Trapping for the winter 2013-2014 season is now complete.  Trappling will begain again in the fall of 2014.  Property owners who signed up for trapping and have rabbits in their area but did not receive the service will receive high priority in fall 2014.

The program is most effective when trapping occurs on both public and private property.  If you have rabbits in your area, please consider signing up to allow trapping on your property.  Property owners who want the contractor to remove feral rabbits from their property in the fall should fill out a private property access agreement form:  Feral rabbit removal request info
The Town is still accepting proposals for sanctuaries. If any non-for-profit society for spay/neutering and permanent relocation at an appropriate sanctuary comes forward at any time, the contractor will, upon Town approval, release trapped rabbits to the group.  All sanctuary proposals must meet the Town's standards and evaluation criteria.  

To view the Standards for Feral Rabbit Transportation, Spay/Neuter and Sanctuaries, click here.
To view the Evaluation Criteria for Sanctuary Proposals, click here.

Any feral rabbits that cannot be relocated will be humanely trapped, euthanized and used as a food source at a wildlife rehabilitation centre.


The Town of Canmore continues to work with EARS to try to arrange for the relocation of captured feral rabbits to sanctuaries.  To learn more about EARS please visit their website.   

The Town of Canmore has several living with wildlife programs including bear proof garbage bins, bird feed restrictions, backyard composter restrictions, and the WildSmart vegetation management and community education program. Managing feral rabbits is consistent with these programs. Feral rabbits in Canmore are domesticated pets that were inappropriately released. They are an exotic invasive, not a native wildlife species.

Historical Program Information
All rabbits captured in the first year of trapping were given to Earth Animal Rights Society (EARS), a non-for-profit sanctuary group. No rabbits were euthanized by the Town’s contractor. The Town of Canmore wishes to acknowledge all of the volunteers, veterinarians, and EARS for their efforts to make this relocation initiative such a success.
Administration presented Council with a report and recommendations regarding the program on May 8, 2012. To view the report, click here.
At the November 1, 2011 Council meeting administration presented a report on the award of contract for the capture and removal of feral rabbits in Canmore. To view the Council agenda including the report click here and select the 11-11-01 Regular Business Meeting.
At the July 5, 2011 Town Council meeting, the following actions were approved by Council:
1. Develop a communications strategy to provide information to the community on the feral rabbit management plan. July-August 2011.
2.  Include a budget amount in the 2012 budget for ongoing feral rabbit management. July 2011
3. Amend Bylaw 33-91 (Hunting and Trapping) to permit the trapping of feral rabbits by appointment. August 2011
4a) Issue an RFP for the purposes of locating, trapping, transporting, humanely euthanizing, and delivering rabbits to a location for a suitable use such as feed for use at a wildlife rehabilitation center or trapping and transferring rabbits to an established non-profit society, at their expense, for spay/neutering and permanent relocation to an approved sanctuary acceptable to the Town of Canmore. September 2011
4b) Council approval of final award of RFP and program. October 2011
5. Review submissions and award contract. October 2011
6. Contractor to perform services. November 2011-March 2012
7. Provide regular updates to Council and members of the public on the progress of the feral rabbit management plan. Ongoing
8. Determine effectiveness of the plan. Spring-Summer 2012
To review the Feral Rabbit Management plan click here.  To review the July 5, 2011 Staff Report, click here.
Feral Rabbits in Canmore are the result of domestic rabbits released in South Canmore, where they have been located for several decades.  Recently, they have begun to spread throughout Town.  As part of the 2011 budget, Council approved $50,000 for a Feral Rabbit Management Plan to address reducing the number of feral rabbits in Canmore.  These funds are to be utilized only after a plan is approved by Council. 
The Town of Canmore has a long history of living with wildlife programs including:
  • 1997-Bear proof garbage bins were introduced to reduce human/wildlife interactions
  • 1999-Bear proof bins were fully implemented
  • 2001- Waste control bylaw passed to prohibit residents from placing or storing animal attractants outside, placing or storing birdfeed out of doors between April 1 and October 31, and operating outdoor kitchen waste composters
  • 2005-Bow Valley Wildsmart was established
  • 2011-New animal control bylaw passed - prohibits residents from keeping or causing feral rabbits to be on their property
They are a wildlife attractant because population control is an issue.  According to our research, female rabbits can give birth every 31 days with up to 7 bunnies in each litter.  The population can bump from 2 to 70 within one year.  In addition, they cause damage to public and private property, have ample shelter and food sources from spring to fall, and leave a significant amount of feces.
The Town of Canmore's recommended Feral Rabbit Management Plan is to hire a contractor to live trap, humanely euthanize, and store and transport the rabbits to beneficial end use (such as feed at wildlife rehabilitation centers).  The contractor may provide assistance to residents that request assistance with removing feral rabbits from private property.  The goal is to control and ultimately eliminate feral rabbits from the Town of Canmore.
The Town of Canmore has researched relevant Alberta regulators including:
  • Alberta Transportation
  • Alberta Environment
  • Alberta Agriculture
  • Sustainable Resource Development  (SRD)
Currently there are no Provincial laws preventing us from trapping and transporting rabbits in Alberta.  It is illegal to poison rabbits in Alberta.  The Town of Canmore Hunting and Trapping Bylaw will have to be amended to allow trapping by appointment.
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The Town is still accepting proposals for sanctuaries. If any non-for-profit society for spay/neutering and permanent relocation at an appropriate sanctuary comes forward at any time, the contractor will, upon Town approval, release trapped rabbits to the group.  All sanctuary proposals must meet the Town's standards and evaluation criteria, available here:  http://www.canmore.ca/Municipal-Services/Bylaw-Services-and-RCMP/Feral-Rabbit-Management-Plan.html  Any feral rabbits that cannot be relocated will be humanely trapped, euthanized and used as a food source at a wildlife rehabilitation centre.