Douglas and Grant Counties are home to a genetically distinct population of pygmy rabbits (Brachylagus idahoensis), which had been isolated from other Intermountain West rabbit populations for more than 10,000 years. In Washington, population recovery efforts started in 2002 through captive breeding and, in 2003, the Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit was listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Throughout the years, this recovery effort has experienced several transformations:
Ways You Can Support Pygmy Rabbit Recovery: Washington’s pygmy rabbit population still needs your help to fully recover! Without native sagebrush or a diversity of wildflowers, our pygmy rabbit population cannot be sustained. Protecting and enhancing native sagebrush provides food and cover for these cryptic creatures. Connecting patches of mature sagebrush 3+ foot tall gives rabbits more room to move around. Report potential sightings of pygmy rabbits, their scat, or a burrow system by contacting WDFW at (509) 754-4624 or Foster Creek CD at (509) 888-6372. Documenting rabbits and their burrow systems helps track the success of population recovery. Agricultural operations will not be subject to additional WDFW regulations if you report pygmy rabbit sightings on your property. In addition, protecting native habitat benefits other threatened wildlife species in this area, such as the Greater sage-grouse, the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, and the Washington ground squirrel.