President Obama’s Rabbit Problem

Aww.

Siouxsie loves rabbits.

But it looks like the Obama administration does not share this love.

The Western Watersheds Project has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for waiting too long to decide whether to grant endangered-species protection to the super-cute rare pygmy rabbit in eight Western states.

Pygmy rabbits, which weigh up to one pound and can fit in a man’s palm, have been decreasing in numbers for years in the West because of habitat loss, which reduces their ability to escape predators.

“They are the smallest rabbits in the western hemisphere,” John Marvel of Western Watersheds Project said.  “They are the cutest small rabbit in the world.”  [Source]

Aww.

In 2007, the federal court in Boise, Idaho reversed the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to not protect the cute bunny.

[And] [i]n January 2008, the agency concluded that protecting the rabbit “may be warranted.”

But since then, the agency has missed a 12-month deadline for making a final decision.  [Source]

Meanwhile, the world’s cutest and tiniest rabbit is getting devoured wiped out.

Endangered species protection probably is not likely for the little adorable pygmy rabbit.

And in other rabbit news, “the Obama administration has determined that the American pika, a small rabbit-like mammal, is not threatened by climate change.” [Source]  (Siouxsie understands that pikas are rodents, not lagomorphs like rabbits, but Siouxsie is taking artistic license with this one.)

Double Awww.

Environmentally-friendly scientists consider the pika to be the animal most susceptible to changes in climate; it is believed that the pika cannot handle even the smallest increases in temperature.

In an initial finding issued last April, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that protecting the pika under the Endangered Species Act “may be warranted because of the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range as a result of effects related to global climate change.”  [Source]

But after a full study, the Fish and Wildlife Service decided that the pika is probably tough enough to deal with global warming.

Siouxsie hopes so, but is not too optimistic after reading the not-so-certain statements of John Isanhart, a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service:

while lower-elevation pikas might disappear as the West warms, enough pikas at higher elevations across the West should survive to keep the species from going extinct.

***

“It’s pretty difficult to look into a crystal ball to look where a species is going to be in the next 40 years[.]”

Good luck to the little pika and pygmy rabbit!  Sounds like you will need it.

ohn Isanhart, a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service, said Friday that while lower-elevation pikas might disappear as the West warms, enough pikas at higher elevations across the West should survive to keep the species from going extinct.Officials said they expect most pikas in the Rocky Mountains and along the West Coast will survive in warmer conditions, while in the Great Basin around Nevada, which has already seen some the disappearance of some local populations, pikas face a tougher struggle.

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~ by siouxsielaw on March 4, 2010.

3 Responses to “President Obama’s Rabbit Problem”

  1. Hey! I loved this.

    Just around too much cuteness in the photos to bear.

    There is one place in the known pika and pygmy rabbit Universe where BOTH species occur – in tiny, tiny numbers. THe Bodie Hills on the California-Nevada border. Lots of cattle grazing damage by Barron Hilton (Paris’s hotelier grandpapa).

  2. Those pygmies are really cute. I hope everything will turn out okay for all those animals. They should find a solution soon.

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