Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits Breeding For First Time In A Decade

Although Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits are genetically extinct, the US Fish and Wildlife Service approved interbreeding with Idaho Pygmy Rabbits, which the Obama Administration claims is “not warranted” for ESA protection, in order to maintain as much Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit lineage as is possible.

Ken Cole (age 11) holds pygmy rabbit
Previous attempts to release Pygmy Rabbits have failed.  They’ve all just disappeared, likely falling to predators.  For the first time, Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits have bred in their historic range, albeit in a 6-acre enclosure, rather than in the zoo:

Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits: Endangered Species Breeding For First Time In A Decade – AP

Until this release, there were no Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits known to be left in the wild since 2004. Disease, inbreeding, loss of habitat and other factors nearly wiped them out.

To protect them from predators and encourage breeding, the released rabbits are initially kept in wire mesh enclosures before being slowly released into the wild.

Hopefully this is a first step toward greater success at reintroduction.



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Brian Ertz