U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe
Create protections for the pygmy rabbit’s fragile sagebrush habitat
The habitat of the pygmy rabbit is rapidly shrinking due to climate change, other environmental factors, and preventable agricultural development. Pygmy rabbits are typically found in areas of tall, dense sagebrush cover, and are highly dependent on sagebrush to provide both food and shelter throughout the year. Their diet in the winter consists of up to 99 percent sagebrush.
Pygmy rabbit habitats continue to shrink due to warm temperatures and intense, frequent wildfires that reduce the sagebrush habitats these rabbits live in, driving them to higher ground. Habitat loss is also caused by conversion of sagebrush rangeland to agriculture; development, including oil and gas production; and wildfires in some areas.
Burrowing into the ground is a common act of the pygmy rabbit. Lower levels of snowfall and reduced snowpack make burrowing increasingly difficult, preventing the rabbits from escaping predators. This leaves them exposed without a place to hide and susceptible to being killed by other animals. Common predators of the pygmy rabbit include weasels, coyote, badgers, bobcats, raptors, owls, ravens/crows, and foxes.
Pygmy rabbits are found in the state of Oregon, and across the Pacific Northwest from Washington to Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California. On March 5, 2003, the Columbia Basin Distinct Population Segment of the pygmy rabbit was listed as endangered in the state of Washington. However, rabbits in other areas are also in similar danger and need to be considered. The largest danger facing the pygmy rabbit is decimation of their habitats. It’s time to look into what can be done for the pygmy rabbit to keep their habitats thriving and the species alive.
Dear Mr. Ashe,
While a segment of the pygmy rabbit population has been declared an endangered species, the species as a whole is suffering danger of habitat loss and a decrease in numbers.
As has been done with other species, the pygmy rabbit deserves a protected habitat with efforts of conservation so that the species can remain intact and continue to flourish. Please help to ensure that the pygmy rabbit receives the protection it needs by protecting its fragile habitat.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Oregon Zoo Gallery