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Washington state wildlife officials seek comment on endangered species

WILDLIFE – Washington state wildlife managers are seeking public input on recommendations to keep the pygmy rabbit and grizzly bear on the state’s endangered species list, and to downlist the sea otter from endangered to threatened, according to an agency news release.

The comment period is open through May 9.

The fur trade eliminated sea otters from Washington in the early 20th century. However, since their reintroduction in 1969 and 1970 the state’s population has grown significantly, according to the news release. The population has exceeded growth criteria set in a 2004 recovery plan, thus prompting officials to recommend downlisting.

The pygmy rabbit remains threatened by habitat loss, disease and predation, according to the news release. The population remains small, prompting WDFW officials to recommend keeping its endangered status.

Currently, grizzly bears occupy the Selkirk Range. Habitat loss, human disturbance and a small and isolated population have slowed grizzly bear recovery. Thus, WDFW officials recommend the continued endangered listing.

To review drafts of the proposals visit: wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/endangered/status_review. Submit written comments and recommendations via email to TandEpubliccom@dfw.wa.gov or by mail to Hannah Anderson, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, P.O. Box 43141, Olympia, WA 98504-3200.