Thursday, April 29, 2010
Very funny, bunny (part 2)
“Eight years ago the smallest rabbits in North America were nearly extinct in Washington State. While pygmy rabbits live in several western states, the population in the Columbia River Basin has been isolated for thousands of years and is on the endangered species list. As the rabbits’ sagebrush steppe habitat was converted to agriculture, their numbers fell; in 2001, fewer than 30 were known to live in the state. Biologists trapped 16 rabbits and began a captive-breeding program.
"But the one-pound pygmies couldn’t make healthy babies, so Idaho relatives were imported to broaden the gene pool. Today about 80 live in captivity. On March 13, 2007, scientists released 20 rabbits, which scampered into drainage pipes…by September, predators had eaten all but one.
"Biologists are thinking of ways to make a second release go better; for example, placing the rabbits in a fenced-off area or even getting rid of some of those wily coyotes.”
(From National Geographic, Jan. 2008.)
Has the habit