Perth animal welfare groups help rescue pet bunny colony in Girrawheen

Jacky Cuomo (Bullsbrook) from Besty’s Bunny Rescue with her daughter Nalitah (9) and Lynlee. Photo: Martin Kennealey
Jacky Cuomo (Bullsbrook) from Besty’s Bunny Rescue with her daughter Nalitah (9) and Lynlee. Photo: Martin Kennealey

A PAIR of Girrawheen pets that had been breeding like rabbits led to a Perth-wide animal welfare project to de-sex, vaccinate and rehome almost 50 animals.

A WA Animals founder Yhana Lucas said the ‘Girrawheen bunnies’ project involved Rabbit Society of WA and Besty’s Bunny Rescue as well as foster carers across Perth.

Ms Lucas said they initiated the project in response to reports from members of the public of a large number of rabbits at a vacated property.

“Volunteers have been working to trap the bunnies as a matter of urgency, with the endorsement of the RSPCA and local council who do not have the resources to rescue the rabbits themselves,” she said.

Rescued rabbits with matted fur needed full body shaves at the vet.

“RSPCA has taken some rabbits on for their adoption program, and identified the owner of the first rabbits, a well-meaning but uninformed member of the community.”

Ms Lucas said it had taken more than 500 volunteer hours to trap the rabbits, which would remain in care for up to six months and be de-sexed, microchipped and vaccinated prior to being put up for adoption.

Katrina Thorburn (Butler) with her daughter Sophie (10) and Tim Tam. Photo: Martin Kennealey

“The rabbits have also undergone vet treatments for a variety of conditions, including matting that was so severe it required a full-body shave,” she said.

“We’ve now had four females from Girrawheen give birth, boosting the numbers immensely – we’re now up to 49.

“Seven of these bunnies are with the RSPCA, two are with the original owners (now de-sexed) and 40 are in foster homes with Besty’s Bunny Rescue and WA Animals.

This big black rabbit had seven kits after being rescued.

“Bunny gestation period is just four weeks – 20 of those buns (sic) in care were born post-rescue.

“We’re still getting occasional reports from the neighbours of other bunnies popping their heads up, that we’re going back for.

“We’re trying to get 100 per cent – any missed means numbers explode again, and eventually council would need to put baits down, which are a nasty way to go and dangerous to other species of animal.”

Young rabbits, or kits, that are in foster care. Picture: James O’Connell/Fox Photography

Foster carers include Butler resident Katrina Thorburn and Bullsbrook resident Jacky Cuomo, from Besty’s Bunny Rescue, and their families.

Ms Lucas said if the original two bunnies has been neutered, it could have cost about $400 in vet work, but was now costing the animal welfare groups thousands of dollars.

Rescued rabbits with matted fur needed full body shaves at the vet.

Adoption packages are $200 for adults or $250 for kits, and include health check, desexing, microchip, vaccination, flea and worm prevention, as well as advice from bunny experts.

Ms Lucas said The Unusual Pet Vets and vet Chris Martin provided the discounted and donated vet work.

Email contact@waanimals.org.auor or visit waanimals.org.au for more information.

You may have heard about the Girrawheen bunnies. Today was day one of probably many surgery days to sterilise them all…

Posted by Perth Community Rescue Sterilisation Clinic on Sunday, 27 January 2019