A hop, skip and a jump away from extinction: Save D.C.’s bunnies
Last Wednesday, Lindsay Rohrbaugh of District Department of the Environment sent out a letter to D.C.’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, asking for help tracking the area’s population of Eastern Cottontail Rabbits. Rohrbaugh solicited volunteers for a 2014 survey of Eastern Cottontails and encouraged all citizens to file a brief report after any rabbit sighting.
These adorable creatures were listed as a “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” in the DDOE’s 2006 Wildlife Action Plan. This year, the DDOE counted a mere 2o Eastern Cottontails within city limits during its annual survey, meaning the rabbits have a population density of 0.1 per square mile, according to Washington City Paper.
Extinction seems unlikely for the Eastern Cottontail, especially given the renowned reproductive prowess leoporids (that’s science for “rabbits”), but recent ecological data has been precipitous. Citizen involvement in the DDOE’s 2014 rabbit survey is expected to boost numbers, as past surveys have been limited to parks and other wooded areas during select hours.
Photo: Randy Clark via Flickr