Recovering the Endangered Riparian Brush rabbit (Sylvilagus bachmani riparius): Reproduction and Growth in Confinement and Survival after Translocation

  • Daniel F. Williams
  • Patrick A. Kelly
  • Laurissa P. Hamilton
  • Matthew R. Lloyd
  • Elizabeth A. Williams
  • James J. Youngblom

The Brush rabbit (Sylvilagus bachmani) is distributed from sea level to about 2,200 m along the Pacific Coast of North America from the Colombia River in the north to the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula (Fig. 1). There are 13 described subspecies (Hall 1981). All subspecies occupy dense, shrubby communities, many of which are fire adapted. The Riparian Brush rabbit (Sylvilagus bachmani riparius) occupies a range disjunct from other Brush rabbits, near sea level on the floor of the northern San Joaquin Valley, California, USA. Riparian Brush rabbits live both in old-growth riparian forest (primarily valley oak, Quercus lobata), and riparian communities dominated by thickets of willows (Salix spp.), wild roses (Rosa spp.), blackberries (Rubus spp.), California grape (Vitis californica), and other successional trees and woody plants. When available, they also use dense, tall stands of herbaceous plants adjacent to patches of riparian shrubs or woody vines. Most activity is near the edges of large patches of shrubs or vines (Williams and Basey 1986). These communities in the San Joaquin Valley have been reduced and degraded to less than 1% of their historical extent, primarily by clearing natural vegetation, irrigated cultivation, and impoundment and canalizations of rivers. Consequently, many riparian-dependent species have been jeopardized, including the Riparian Brush rabbit. This rabbit is listed as endangered by California and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Williams and Basey 1986; US Fish and Wildlife Service 1998, 2000).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel F. Williams
    • 1
  • Patrick A. Kelly
    • 1
  • Laurissa P. Hamilton
    • 1
  • Matthew R. Lloyd
    • 1
  • Elizabeth A. Williams
    • 1
  • James J. Youngblom
    • 1
  1. 1.Endangered Species Recovery Program, Department of Biological SciencesCalifornia State UniversityStanislaus, TurlockUSA

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