Ore. Zoo raises & releases rare pygmy rabbits

Ore. Zoo raises & releases rare pygmy rabbits

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on July 19, 2012 at 9:40 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 19 at 1:09 PM

PORTLAND -- The Oregon Zoo held an emotional farewell Thursday for rare Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits, that were raised by zoo veterinarians and then released into the wild.

The species had dropped to just 16 animals in 2002 before programs like the Oregon Zoo's helped to restore them in the wild.

Conservation efforts at an off-site zoo facility in rural Clackamas County have been going on for the last 12 years. Over 1,000 pygmy rabbits have been born in the program.

The numbers dwindled as their natural habitat was turned over for agricultural use. The creature is America's smallest rabbit, less than a pound fully grown.

They were released into a six-acre wildlife area in Eastern Washington, each equipped with microchips to follow their moves.

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