More good news for pygmy rabbits

Last month, a linkurl:judge ruled;http://www.westernwatersheds.org/legal/07/pygmy/pygmysjorder.pdf that the US Fish and Wildlife Service had to revisit a 2004 decision denying pygmy rabbits outside of the Columbia River basin protection under the Endangered Species Act. I wrote about linkurl: efforts to save the Columbia basin rabbits;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53232/ in our June issue; such rabbits have been listed as endangered since 2003. The ruling was in response to a sui

By | October 22, 2007

Last month, a linkurl:judge ruled;http://www.westernwatersheds.org/legal/07/pygmy/pygmysjorder.pdf that the US Fish and Wildlife Service had to revisit a 2004 decision denying pygmy rabbits outside of the Columbia River basin protection under the Endangered Species Act. I wrote about linkurl: efforts to save the Columbia basin rabbits;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53232/ in our June issue; such rabbits have been listed as endangered since 2003. The ruling was in response to a suit filed by a number of groups, including the linkurl:Western Watersheds Project, ;http://www.westernwatersheds.org/news_media/newsmedia_2007/wwp130_newsmedia.shtml which had been among those who filed the original petition for US District Judge Edward Lodge found that the Fish and Wildlife Service hadn't applied the rules of the Endangered Species Act properly. He didn't say whether the Service should list the rabbits as endangered, but said that it should issue a new finding on the petition within 90 days, the Act standard. It's unclear what effects the decision will have on recovery of the tiny rabbits -- on average, adults weigh just 400 grams and are only 25 centimeters long -- in Washington and Oregon. Workers have given up on recreating a population of 100% Columbia basin rabbits, because severe inbreeding has left them with compromised immune systems and other health problems. So they've begun breeding them with the Idaho rabbits, who are somewhat hardier, so that they can reintroduce 75% Columbia basin rabbits into the wild. The linkurl:success of those efforts;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53292/ -- which are still in the pilot phase -- has been mixed.

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