Thursday, November 12, 2009

Riverine Rabbit Facts and How You Can Save Them

Riverine rabbits are endemic to South Africa and are Africa's only digging rabbit. Females dig boroughs for their newborns, which is nice of them since like all rabbits, newborns are born blind and hairless, completely dependent on their mother.

Riverine rabbits are slower than other rabbits in South Africa so rely on camouflage for protection. You're not likely to see a riverine rabbit unless you are a night owl as they are nocturnal.

Riverine rabbits are not adventurous eaters, with 90% of their diet comprising of Karoo shrubs. This specialized diet means they have limited suitable habitat, none of which is protected -see below.

Why Riverine Rabbits Need Our Help
Riverine rabbits are critically endangered with less than 250 individuals left. They are South Africa's most critically endangered animal and the 13th most endangered animal in the world. None of their habitat is protected and most of it is on farmland. Riverbank degradation, riverine habitat destruction, overgrazing which leads to soil erosion, habitat fragmentation which prevents populations from mingling and therefore breeding and illegal hunting have all lead to the riverine rabbit's critically endangered status. Sources:
Endangered Wildlife Trust Riverine Rabbit, Riverine Rabbit Working Group

Help Save Riverine Rabbits

Photo courtesy of: Ravine Rabbit Conservation Project