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Originally published Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 2:12 PM

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Feds release final recovery plan

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its final recovery plan for the endangered Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit.

The Associated Press

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SPOKANE, Wash. —

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its final recovery plan for the endangered Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit.

The plan released Wednesday recommends continuing many recovery efforts already under way. Those include releases of captive-bred animals, relocating pygmy rabbits from places outside the Columbia Basin, and semi-controlled field breeding measures.

The plan also calls for surveys to determine if pygmy rabbits may exist in areas not covered in earlier surveys.

Pygmy rabbits are the smallest rabbits in North America, with adults weighing about one pound and less than a foot long.

Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits are believed to be extinct in the wild. The last known individuals were captured in 2004 for a breeding program intended to boost numbers for reintroduction into the wild.

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