Badly burned snowshoe hare survives Elephant Hill fire

The rabbit, named Harrison, suffered burns to 95 per cent of his body. ‘His fur was quite crispy.’

Harrison sitting in a lunchbox on the day he was found. Submitted photo.

A baby snowshoe hare has become a ray of hope for people living in 100 Mile House after it escaped from the Elephant Hill wildfire.

“In these unsettling and scary times with so many wild and domestic animals being injured and killed, it is wonderful that this one little snowshoe hare will survive and be taken care of,” said Faith Andre, who is looking for the rabbit, now named Harrison.

READ MORE: Elephant Hill fire causes evacuation alert southwest of Clinton

READ MORE: Dogs stick with sheep through wildfire

A buncherman, which is a type of logger, was building a fire guard at the Elephant Hill blaze about a month ago when the hare scooted out from the flames, Andre says.

The hare, also known as a leveret, was dodging left and right and jumping over burning logs.

“The buncherman got out of his machine and was able to catch the hare,” she says. “He brought him inside the buncher where he remained for eight hours.”

He put water into his sandwich container and placed the hare in it to cool off the animal’s burning feet. The hare spent the two-hour drive back home in the man’s lunch kit.

“The next day, he was taken to the vet where his injuries were assessed,” Andre says. “Ninety-five per cent of his body was burned. His fur was quite crispy. His feet and neck were badly burned and eventually the skin peeled off.

“His ears were also burned and the tips and edges are now falling off. His eyes were also burned, his left eye is cloudy and blind and his right has some vision.”

Harrison has been doing well since then. He’s gaining weight, eating well and getting along with Andre’s cats.

“He is continuing to receive veterinary care on a regular basis,” she says. “His fur is growing in in patches where it has burned off.”

Andre says she lost a lot of business at her store, Dancing Quilts, when the area had to evacuate because of the fire.

“We were closed for 13 days, and then when everyone came back, they were dealing with replacing their fridges and freezers, their burning properties and stuff,” she says. “So, my business was really affected. Everybody’s was. I’m not any worse than anyone else.”

Having a cuddly bunny around has been a big help for both her and others in the town.

”He has beaten the odds and has become a ray of hope for many in our Cariboo Strong community.”

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Harrison the hare with Faith Andre inside Dancing Quilts in 100 Mile House. Max Winkelman photos.

Harrison’s ears are burned but he’s recovering well and has already doubled in weight according to Andre. Max Winkelman photo.

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