Two feral rabbits graze grass at Jericho beach

Keeping a safe distance from Jericho’s feral rabbits

March 27 2024 –

As we approach Easter weekend, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation is reminding the public not to release, feed or touch Jericho’s rabbits - for their sake – and yours.

Feral rabbits populate the grassy areas around Jericho Beach. Drawn by their fluffy tails, twitching noses and relative tameness, people often try to handle and feed them. But these interactions pose serious health threats to the animals and the public, and the rabbits have harmful impacts on the environment.    

Invasive Species

Unbeknownst to many, Jericho Beach’s feral rabbit population is an invasive species colony, originating from domestic pets that have either escaped or been intentionally released.

Invasive species can out-compete native species for food and space, damage ecosystems, disrupt food sources and introduce parasites and disease. They are the second greatest threat to biodiversity following habitat loss.

Don’t release

Easter bunnies, bought as a gift, are sadly often abandoned in parkland once the novelty has worn off and the responsibility of pet ownership sets in. Not only does this contribute to the negative impacts of feral rabbits in the park but it leaves domesticated animals frightened, malnourished and vulnerable to a huge range of harmful consequences including traffic accidents, predators and disease. 

Don’t feed

Wildlife feeding is prohibited across all Vancouver parks and beaches, and can incur a fine of up to $500. Not only is feeding feral rabbits unhealthy for them, when they gather around feeding areas they also become more vulnerable to predators and can more easily spread disease. Food left out for rabbits attracts mice and rats which can lead to infestations and further opportunities for spreading diseases like Hantavirus.

Don’t touch

Touching or trying to pick up wild animals is distressing for them, and can put people at risk of being bitten or scratched. More seriously, rabbits carry pests and parasites such as ticks, which can transmit deadly diseases to humans and dogs such as Lyme Disease.

While trying to get close to a small fluffy bunny can seem harmless, the best thing you can do is give it space and observe from afar. If you have a dog, keep it under control, on leash and away from wildlife.

As education and signage rolls out to remind the public how to peacefully coexist, staff at the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation are monitoring the Jericho colony and its impacts on park ecosystems. Staff are consulting with wildlife experts, the BC SPCA and the Invasive Species Council of BC to better understand the range of public education and management options that could be used to effectively manage this unnatural population.

With spring in full swing, the public are reminded that coexisting and protecting Vancouver’s wildlife relies on all of us doing our part to ensure both animals and people can enjoy our greenspaces without negatively interacting with one another.

Any incidents of wildlife feeding should be reported immediately by calling 311 or using the Van311 app.

For more information on Vancouver’s wildlife and tips on peaceful coexistence, visit: