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Tuesday, August 11, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Pygmy rabbits still endangered under state Washington law

FILE - A pygmy rabbit rescued from the Beezley Hills facility eats owl clover in its new enclosure. Pygmy rabbits will remain an endangered species in Washington. (Photo by Kourtney Stonehouse / Photo by Kourtney Stonehouse, WD)
FILE - A pygmy rabbit rescued from the Beezley Hills facility eats owl clover in its new enclosure. Pygmy rabbits will remain an endangered species in Washington. (Photo by Kourtney Stonehouse / Photo by Kourtney Stonehouse, WD)

Pygmy rabbits will remain an endangered species in Washington.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission maintained the rabbits endangered status after reviewing a report finding the diminutive creatures face ongoing risks to their long-term survival in central Washington’s sagebrush habitat.

The commission made the decision at a meeting last week, according to a WDFW news release.

It’s estimated there are 250 rabbits left in Washington. The state’s five-year average population goal is 1,400 rabbits, according to the release.

Hannah Anderson, WDFW wildlife recovery specialist, said the rabbits are threatened by loss and fragmentation of their sagebrush habitat, wildfires and the relatively small size of the population.

The animals are classified as endangered under federal law.

The state evacuated 32 endangered pygmy rabbits from a state-managed breeding facility last summer after a wildfire scorched the area.

The commission will decide the classification of two other species, sea otters and Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, later this summer, according to the release.

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