EPHRATA—The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) needs volunteers in April to help survey areas of central Washington for the burrows of endangered pygmy rabbits.
WDFW district wildlife biologists John Musser and Tom McCall will conduct surveys on weekdays, April 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23. At least six volunteers, willing and able to walk all day in any kind of weather, are needed each survey day. Volunteers need to dress for variable spring weather, including a jacket and hat for sun and wind protection and comfortable walking footwear. They should bring their own day pack with lunch and water.
Interested volunteers should call either the Wenatchee WDFW office at 509-662-0452, or John Musser at 509-663-9764, as soon as possible to say when they can help.
Musser and McCall will meet and briefly train volunteers each survey day at 8 a.m. The biologists will tell the volunteers where to meet.
Fewer than 200 pygmy rabbits are known to be in Douglas County. The shrub-steppe habitat that this smallest North American rabbit requires is very fragmented in Washington. Sagebrush is a critical part of that habitat both as food and shelter for the rabbits; most burrows are dug in the deep soils under old sagebrush.