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Originally published Friday, January 4, 2013 at 11:04 AM

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Pygmy rabbits surviving in Columbia Basin

Washington Fish and Wildlife scientists are encouraged after a survey of pygmy rabbits at the Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area near Ephrata.

The Associated Press

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EPHRATA, Wash. —

Washington Fish and Wildlife scientists are encouraged after a survey of pygmy rabbits at the Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area near Ephrata.

Researcher Penny Becker says about 40 rabbits are using burrows outside enclosures where a breeding program began in the summer of 2011. Only four rabbits were counted outside enclosures last winter.

Becker says the survival rate of about 40 percent so far this winter compares with an average survival rate of 22 percent for wild pygmy rabbits in Idaho and 10 percent in Oregon.

The Wenatchee World reports ( http://bit.ly/10Zz2KZ) Washington is trying to re-establish the pygmy rabbits in their historical range in central Washington. The Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits - distinct from other pygmy rabbits in the West - have been listed as a federally endangered species since 2003.

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Information from: The Wenatchee World, http://www.wenatcheeworld.com

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