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Easter Bunny: Hopping Toward Extinction?

Date
April 21, 2011
Contact
Nicole Rosmarino 505-699-7404
In This Release
Wildlife   White-sided jackrabbit
#EndangeredSpeciesAct
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Easter Bunny: Hopping Toward Extinction?

Group Presses Forward on Protection for Rare Southwestern Jackrabbit
Contact: Nicole Rosmarino 505-699-7404

Santa Fe, NM-April 21. WildEarthGuardians sent notice to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar that theorganization will challenge Salazar’s refusal to protect (list) the white-sidedjackrabbit under the Endangered Species Act. Last autumn, Salazar deniedGuardians’ petition to list this jackrabbit as “threatened” or “endangered”under the Act. This rare rabbit numbers fewer than 100 in the United States, where it is limited to a swath ofgrasslands in New Mexico’sbootheel. The species also occurs in Mexico, where the Mexicangovernment reports that it is rare and declining.

“The white-sided jackrabbit urgently needs protection under theEndangered Species Act. Without thesesafeguards, it will likely vanish from the U.S. and may become extinctaltogether,” stated Nicole Rosmarino of WildEarth Guardians. “Easter provides areminder that several imperiled rabbit species may be hopping toward extinctionbecause they lack the federal shield the Endangered Species Act provides.”

Guardians is raising awareness this Easter of theplight of imperiled rabbits in the U.S. The pygmy rabbit, a very smallrabbit found in sagebrush steppe, has suffered extensive habitat loss.Guardians is supporting Western Watersheds Project’s efforts to protect thisspecies. The New England cottontail islikewise imperiled, and the Endangered Small Mammal Conservation Fund has ledconservation efforts for this rabbit. The New Englandcottontail is a candidate for Endangered Species Act listing, but the specieswill not receive its protections until formally listed under the law.

Easter eggs are in trouble, too. Guardians’ efforts to address thisproblem are profiled in today’s issue of the New York Times titled Wildlife at Risk Face Long Line at U.S. Agency. Guardians pointsto a suite of endangered birds that are awaiting Endangered Species Actlisting, including the mountain plover, lesser prairie-chicken, greatersage-grouse, Mono Basin sage-grouse, and Sprague’s pipit. While the plover isproposed for listing, these other birds are candidates. More than 250 speciesare on the candidate list, and the majority of them have awaited listing formore than 20 years.

“The Endangered Species Act has an A+ record in preventing extinction,but it doesn’t apply to species that aren’t listed under it,” stated Mark Salvoof WildEarth Guardians. “We risk losing a number of charismatic American birdsdue to delayed or denied protections. We urge the Obama administration to dosome spring cleaning by moving these imperiled birds off of the candidate listand onto the protected species list.”

For further information, including a copy of thelegal notice submitted for the jackrabbit, please contact Nicole Rosmarino at nrosmarino@wildearthguardians.org, 505-699-7404 or Mark Salvo at msalvo@wildearthguardians.org, 503-757-4221 or visit www.wildearthguardians.org.

 

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“The white-sided jackrabbit urgently needs protection under the Endangered Species Act. Without these safeguards, it will likely vanish from the U.S. and may become extinct altogether,” stated Nicole Rosmarino of WildEarth Guardians. “Easter provides a reminder that several imperiled rabbit species may be hopping toward extinction because they lack the federal shield the Endangered Species Act provides.”