ZooBorns (October 14, 2009)
(from ZooBorns, used w/o permission)
"Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits are the world's smallest and among the rarest. Native only to a single area of Washington State, this once isolated population of Pygmy rabbits usually weighs less than a pound in adulthood and was declared extinct in the wild in the '90s, after the remaining 14 bunnies were scooped up and taken into the equivalent of bunny protective custody.
"This year the Oregon Zoo welcomed 26 of the little guys, bringing this year's total to 73 baby bunnies (kits) among participating breeding facilities. Color is added to the ears in the pictures below so zoo staff can tell the kits apart. ..."
There's more to the article, including a YouTube video (below) and a bit of background on the burrowing bunnies of the Columbia Basin.
It seems that these rabbits aren't quite Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits. Pygmy, yes; rabbit, yes; but part Idaho Pygmy Rabbit. The Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits didn't breed well in captivity. Maybe it was inbreeding, due to a small population - that's the article's explanation - or maybe they went extinct in the wild because they stopped having big families. But what do I know?
What's quite certain is that these undersized rabbits are almost ridiculously cute.
"Baby Pygmy Rabbits, At The Oregon Zoo!"
oregonzoo, YouTube (November 27, 2006)
- "There Weren't Many Neanderthals - Which is Why They Died Out?!"
(July 17, 2009)
A tip of the hat to irish_brigid, on Twitter, for the heads-up on this article.