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NatureGround >> 20endangered rabbits freed 14eaten


4/12/07 10:21 PM
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Cire
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Edited: 12-Apr-07
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April 12, 2007, 10:53AM
20 endangered rabbits released; 14 promptly eaten


EPHRATA, Wash. — Most of a group of 20 endangered rabbits that were reintroduced to the wild with great fanfare last month have been killed by predators, state officials said.

Only four of the rabbits released on March 13 remained at the Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area as of Tuesday, said David Hays, pygmy rabbit coordinator for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Hays said two males were removed earlier this month and will be returned at the end of April. The other 14 rabbits are believed to have fallen victim to predators, mainly coyotes, but also hawks and owls, Hays said.

The rabbits, small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, eat sagebrush and are the only rabbits in the United States that dig their own burrows.

The Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area, about 10 miles north of Ephrata, is considered the last native home of the Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit. The rabbit was listed as a state endangered species in 1993 and federally protected in 2003.

The 3,700-acre release site has been watched daily by Fish and Wildlife staff. Several of the rabbits were fitted with GPS monitors. Of the four rabbits remaining at the site, three are females who could be pregnant, officials said.

Hays said the rapid decline in population does not doom the multimillion dollar project to return the near-extinct rabbit to its natural environment. More rabbits will be released in the area, and experts are looking for ways to reduce predation.

"We're taking it week by week. This is valuable learning time," he said.

4/12/07 10:24 PM
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Mr B
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Edited: 12-Apr-07
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damn. =-(
4/12/07 10:24 PM
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Dratherbe
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Edited: 12-Apr-07
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bunny-burgers
4/12/07 10:27 PM
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cyberslinger
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Edited: 12-Apr-07
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If they could have spoken it would have sounded something like....

"Fuck YOU!!! It's dangerous out there..."

4/12/07 10:32 PM
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Xtina
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Edited: 12-Apr-07
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They should make the rabbits xtra large, imo.
4/12/07 10:33 PM
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CharlesLewis
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Edited: 12-Apr-07
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Sounds about right. That's the rabbit's role, a meal that can run. All the world will be your enemy, Prince With a Thousand Enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first, they must catch you - digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.
4/12/07 10:48 PM
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Dos Huevos Gigante
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Edited: 12-Apr-07
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"FREEDOM! HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE FREEDOM!"
4/12/07 10:50 PM
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deach
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Edited: 12-Apr-07
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4/12/07 10:51 PM
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gokuryu
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Edited: 12-Apr-07
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i guess this answers the age old question....

4/12/07 10:52 PM
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kot1k
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Edited: 12-Apr-07
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That's why they are endangered in the first place. They suck at running!
4/12/07 10:58 PM
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GucciGucciGucci
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Edited: 12-Apr-07
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Awww rabbitah awww

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