Breeding like bunnies? Not this bunny!

13 November 2019 - 11:10 By Tanya Farber
In this extremely rare image, white outlines indicate the locations of the two kits (offspring) that were photographer with their mother.
In this extremely rare image, white outlines indicate the locations of the two kits (offspring) that were photographer with their mother.
Image: Supplied by the Endangered Wildlife Trust

When you’re a promiscuous bunny who has lots of babies, it’s not hard for humans to capture images of your bountiful offspring. 

But, when you’re a riverine rabbit, it’s another story altogether: this highly elusive breed  have only one or two kits (babies) and are almost impossible to capture on film.

Now, in a first for conservation, the Endangered Wildlife Trust has captured the first-ever photographic evidence of riverine rabbit kits with their mother.

“This unbelievable image was captured on a camera trap near Loxton, and showed a mother riverine rabbit and two kits. This is in line with previous research that has suggested that these elusive rabbits, rather than breeding like the proverbial bunnies, tend to only have one or two kits,” said Cobus Theron, a programme manager at the organisation.

He added that the news was “even more exciting” because the area where the image was captured was “previously data deficient”.

“This means that no sightings of the rabbits were previously recorded there. The new discovery takes us one step closer to closing the gaps in our knowledge of the complete distribution range for the species and provides us with more information on their ecology,” he said.

The trust's drylands conservation programme significantly increased its camera- trapping activities in 2019, in both the northern and southern populations of riverine rabbits and clearly, it's paying off.


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