Pygmy rabbit denied protection
Species will not be listed under ESA
By :KATHERINE WUTZ
The pygmy rabbit, North America's smallest rabbit species, was denied protection under the Endangered Species Act yesterday when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined the species did not require listing.
Pygmy rabbits were first considered for listing in 2003, when several conservation groups, including the Hailey-based Western Watersheds Project, filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The service released a 90-day finding in 2008 in response to a lawsuit from the conservation groups, and then began a status review to determine whether the species was in need of listing.
A different subspecies of pygmy rabbit found in central Washington is already listed under the ESA. Locally, the rabbits can be found near the Magic and Mormon reservoirs and in the upper Big Lost River valley. The rabbits generally weigh no more than a pound, and inhabit sagebrush steppes.