Two hundred bunnies, a rapidly spreading wildfire, an RV and many, many bags full of carrot tops are some highlights from the adventures of the Warren Peace bunny sanctuary in Lake Country.
When the McDougall Creek wildfire near West Kelowna spread across Okanagan Lake, sparking up in Kelowna and Lake Country, the Warren Peace Bunny Sanctuary had to spring into action.
While the sanctuary was not on evacuation alert, Bobby Brown, a volunteer with the rescue, explained that they chose to take action because roads were being closed and if the situation changed quickly and the fire worsened, they would not be able to safely evacuate all of the critters properly at a moments notice.
Brown said that little bunnies can die from stress, so the team at Warren Peace had to keep calm and avoid hectic situations when it came to deciding to evacuate.
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To keep all of the bunnies properly separated, safe and comfortable, the sanctuary chose to evacuate before things got worse.
Brown explained that bunnies need to be separated into friend groups again and based on gender if they have not yet been spayed or neutered, which means that a lot of crates had to be used to move all the little buns.
“It is a very meticulous process.”
Thankfully, the sanctuary was able to secure a motor home from a Warren Peace volunteer. While the RV was not made for the narrow and rugged road conditions on the drive up to the sanctuary, all of the critters were able to be safely loaded up and evacuated. Even with the use of the motorhome, it took multiple trips back and forth to transport all the bunnies, pens, food and bedding.
The local fire department also helped to transport the bunnies to safety.
Next came the challenge of finding a safe space to house all 200 bunnies.
TRACS, a local non-profit charity and animal sanctuary offered up their barn space to the little critters.
Brown and the team at Warren Peace had to quickly create secure and comfortable pens.
“They escape easily,” said Brown, emphasizing that the tiny rabbits can scoot through very small gaps.
The team had to use creative tactics to secure all of the temporary pens.
Additionally, the bunnies required feedings, multiple times each day as well as bedding changes and constant care.
The team at TRACS helped Warren Peace to care for the critters.
Brown said that the bunnies eat a 20kg bag of feed each day, in addition to treats like carrot tops, apples, lettuce and bananas.
Members of the community, local businesses, farms and Lake Country Pet donated feed and fresh produce for the buns.
Farms, like Peach Tree Farm, donated multiple boxes of fresh produce that were of excellent quality but not suitable for sale in grocery stores.
After a few weeks at the TRACS barns, the rabbits were able to return home. Local realtor Kyle Cave offered the sanctuary the use of his large Royal Lepage moving truck to shuttle the bunnies back home to Lake Country.
The bunnies are all settling back into their routine and are ready to be adopted by loving families.
To learn more about the sanctuary and to donate or adopt a bunny, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Warren Peace on Facebook.