A Life Too Short
The first official day of spring is just around the corner now and here in Richmond, B.C. we are already seeing early signs of spring. The days grow longer, the weather feels warmer, daffodils can be seen emerging from the earth, and new leaf buds are showing on the trees. The official start of spring also traditionally marks the beginning of new life. And in the parks and other green spaces scattered throughout the urban community of Richmond, new life begins to be seen. All over the city baby bunnies are starting to appear.
The baby bunnies can be found in parks, behind buildings and in all sorts of unexpected places. Their tiny heads poke out from under bushes and behind trees and they scamper about exploring their new surroundings. As each week passes, more and more of these little furry creatures are starting to show themselves in their new world.
Now Richmond does not have any actual “wild” rabbits. The rabbits found in the parks and on the streets are abandoned domestic pet rabbits. These are rabbits that people bought and tired of, and then decided an easy solution to disposing of their pets was to dump them out into the city. However these pet rabbits know nothing about how to survive and so most of them die from illness, malnutrition, injuries caused by predators or hit by cars. But some of these pet rabbits do survive and as the signs of spring begin, these survivors are now having babies.
The tiny baby bunnies pictured in the photo are the offspring of two of the survivors. Their mother is a lovely young black and white bunny, known as a Dutch rabbit, who was discarded to fend for herself on the streets. She did the best she could to survive and eventually met and bred with another abandoned pet rabbit. However not being an actual wild rabbit, this young Dutch rabbit did not know where to go when the time came to have her babies. So this soon-to-be mom went to the only place she could find. And that place was behind a stack of boards and other clutter piled high in an apartment complex parking garage. She gathered up all the soft debris she could find and made a small nest in the corner by the stack of boards. Then hidden behind the junk pile, this young rabbit gave birth on a cold concrete floor with the smell of car exhaust fumes all around her. And seven sweet, innocent, tiny baby bunnies entered the world.
This young mother bunny tried hard to care for her babies. She daily waited patiently for the electronic parking garage gate to open for cars, so she could quickly dash through and search for food and water. Then she would again wait for the parking garage gate to re-open so she could hurry back inside to tend to her family. There is no doubt that the future of this mother bunny and her babies was grim. Hit by car or die of starvation were the most likely endings for this new life that had been born in these harsh conditions. It was just a matter of time.
But as fate would have it, a concerned local resident discovered the bunny family before it was too late. A rescue was then made by another kind rabbit savvy individual who also would not turn her back on this bunny family, despite already caring for many other rescued rabbits. This lovely young mother rabbit and all her sweet babies were successfully saved from what would have been a cruel and certain death.
The story of this young mother rabbit and her seven babies has a happy ending. But there are numerous other baby bunnies being born and struggling to survive all over the parks and streets of Richmond. Most of them will die before they reach one year of age. Those that survive face an uncertain life of hardship as they search for food, suffer from illness, and guard against predators.
As the first day of spring approaches, it should be a joyful time for all the new life being born. But for most of the babies of the abandoned pet rabbits of Richmond, that new life will be sadly and painfully short-lived.