Pygmy rabbits have been devastated by wildfires in recent years, most recently by the Pearl Hill fire of 2020 and the Sutherland Canyon fire of 2017. Significant areas of habitat across their range were destroyed and many rabbits were lost in both fires. In the Pearl Hill fire of 2020, WDFW reported in addition to roughly 1,000 acres of habitat destroyed they lost breeding enclosures and release/acclimation pens as well as an unknown number of wild/free ranging rabbits.
This makes the Lancaster/Schuster gift of land even more important, as it is high quality habitat and is in the heart of the recovery area. We’ll be able to provide stewardship and habitat restoration to work for pygmy rabbits’ long-term survival; and we look forward to bringing volunteers out to assist in pygmy rabbit release activities as our volunteer program re-opens as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tiny Rabbits spurred a lifelong fascination
Peter Lancaster shared with us his story of how he became enamored of the pygmy rabbits:
I grew up in East Wenatchee, Washington, near the boundary where orchards ended and sage began. Even before I started school rabbits had captured my imagination.
After the first snowfall, White-tail Jackrabbits often left visible evidence that they had crossed our yard. If I saw rabbit tracks, my mind worked overtime, stunned by the fact that a rabbit had visited our house while I slept.