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Pygmy Rabbits Face Dangerously Small Population Numbers

Eight years ago, the smallest breed of rabbits in North America -- the pygmy rabbit -- was close to extinction. Currently, scientists are trying to help this species survive.

The Columbia River Basin had served as this rabbit's home until recently. The drastic conversion from their original homes in steep sagebrush to farm land contributed to the rabbit population's decline. Because these rabbits are now on the endangered species list, biologists are testing ways to save the small mammals.

Specifically, to combat the low pygmy rabbit population, biologists started a captive breeding program in 2007. They captured a total of 16 rabbits; however, the health of these animals was not good enough to breed healthy baby rabbits, also known as "kits." To expand the gene pool, biologists brought in the rabbit's relatives from Idaho.

Later that same year, biologists released 20 pygmy rabbits into the wild. Unfortunately, only one rabbit survived. The others, were eaten by predators, most likely coyotes.

Since the biologists' previous plans failed, they are now trying to find new ways to save the pygmy rabbits. One new idea of theirs is to put the rabbits in a fenced-off area, where they would be safe from threats. Another idea is to eliminate a number of the coyotes that are hunting the rabbits.

Biologists are continuing to try and repopulate the pygmy rabbits, even though previous attempts haven't succeeded. Only time will show how successful the new plans will be.

[source: Simpson Street Free Press Archives ]

You did a really nice job on this article. – Sofia Mardak-Kennebeck , Sennett Middle School (2016-05-16 13:57)
I wonder how many pygmy rabbits there are now? – Nolan , Sennett middle school (2016-05-16 13:58)
This is a very good and interesting article. You did a very nice job on it. – Riana walls , Sennett middle school (2016-05-16 14:01)
This is a nicely written article and has a very fascinating topic. – Savanah , Sennett (2016-05-16 14:01)
I loved this! I am a large supporter ofr the environment, so it touched my heart to see this. – Raya Broad , Wright Free Press (2016-05-18 15:53)
I absolutely love these little rabbits and am so happy to know they are trying to be saved! – Ms. Najacht , Sennett Middle School (2016-05-25 14:32)
You presented this issue perfectly in your article. Keep up the good work! – Jacqueline Zuniga Paiz , West High School (2016-05-25 18:01)
love the work keep it up – ashley buechner , sennett middle school (2016-09-19 14:20)
Keep up the great work. – kelsey , mcguire (2016-09-19 14:23)
Amazing! I never even knew about these rabbits, and the intro you wrote was very helpful! – Rory S. , Sennett Middle School (2016-09-19 14:33)
I really liked your liked your article, it was a bit sad but great work! – Cecilia Ridgeway , Sennett Middle school (2016-09-19 14:35)
Great article! It was interesting to learn about Pygmy rabbits and the ways the scientists are trying to save them. – Sharon , Sennett Middle School (2017-01-23 15:13)
I loved your article ! – Desteny , Sennett Middle School (2017-09-11 14:57)