Open Spaces: Rabbit Rescue at San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge

Rabbit Rescue at San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge

When you were a child, did you read Watership Down, a tale of a herd of rabbits who leave their home before it is destroyed to find a new land? In the book, most of the dangers that Fiver, Hazel and the other rabbits must overcome are caused by people. 

Similar to the book, last March, endangered riparian brush rabbits at San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge in Calfornia faced a serious threat to their homes. In this real-life story of survival, however, the people in the story played protagonists, not the villains of the book.

When post-winter flooding along the San Joaquin and Stanislaus rivers began to threaten the rabbits, the Endangered Species Recovery Program and San Joaquin River Refuge staff mobilized to bring 125 rabbits to safety.

Using boats to navigate the flooded area, the staff searched for the rabbits high and low (riparian brush rabbits are great tree-climbers!). Once found, each rabbit was put in a gunnysack or box and ferried to bunny mounds and other high ground. 

If you've never seen them before, the riparian brush rabbit is a smallish cottontail with an inconspicuous tail and uniformly colored ears (i.e., no black tips). 

Its colors vary from dark brown to gray above to white underneath and is found along the lower portions of the San Joaquin and Stanislaus rivers in the northern San Joaquin Valley, California.

Learn more about the rescue efforts at:

Or, simply watch this video!

Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
's Gravatar Yay! Save the bunnies!
# Posted By | 11/28/11 3:24 PM
Beth Barrett Hauer's Gravatar Thanks for saving the rabbits.
# Posted By Beth Barrett Hauer | 11/28/11 3:36 PM
Leanne Magincalda's Gravatar This happened right in my back yard, and I didn't know a thing. But, many thanks to all those that helped with the rescue!
# Posted By Leanne Magincalda | 11/29/11 6:53 PM
Jon Lucas's Gravatar Great story...thanks for sharing.
# Posted By Jon Lucas | 12/3/11 12:56 PM

Last updated: June 21, 2012