Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Help Save the Karoo’s Riverine Rabbit

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is appealing to the public in various parts of the Karoo to assist it in identifying the areas where the critically endangered Riverine Rabbit can still be found.

The bilingual flyer in this month’s Friend aims to help farmers, farm workers and the general public distinguish the Riverine Rabbit from the other three hare and rabbit species that occur throughout the Karoo.

The EWT is hoping that in this way, they will be able to find all the existing Riverine Rabbit’s remnant populations, provide them with formal protection and save the mammal from extinction.

According to Dr Vicky Ahlmann of the EWT’s Riverine Rabbit Working Group, 297 rabbits have been sighted in 18 different districts in the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape.

The highest numbers have been seen in the Beaufort West and Fraserburg districts, while until fairly recently the Riverine Rabbit’s occurrence around Prince Albert was unknown. However, thanks to local farmers, landowners and conservation officials its presence in the area has been discovered.

Dr Ahlmann explained that the Riverine Rabbit, Africa’s only burrowing rabbit, faced extinction as a result of habitat destruction, trapping and illegal hunting, from feral pets and climate change. It exists in the shrub lands and alluvial soils close to rivers in the Karoo.

Please report sightings to:

Dr Vicky Ahlmann
E-mail: vickya@ewt.org.za
Cell: 082 446 0548

Reda Potts
E-mail: redap@ewt.org.za
Cell: 082 799 4936

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