Species: Tehuantepec jackrabbit (Lepus flavigularis)
Status: Endangered (EN)
Interesting Fact: The Tehuantepec jackrabbit has impressively long ears which can measure up to 12 centimetres in length.
The Tehuantepec jackrabbit is considered to be the most endangered hare species in the world. Like other hares, it is characterised by its long legs, large hind feet, huge ears and superb running ability. This species is active at night or at dawn and dusk, sheltering in cover during the day. Like most hares, it does not dig burrows, instead relying on its camouflage and speed to escape predators. Young Tehuantepec jackrabbits, known as leverets, are well developed at birth and are left in a concealed place by the female, who only returns to nurse them briefly each day. This species is named after its distribution around the Gulf of Tehuantepec, Mexico.
Only four small, isolated populations of Tehuantepec jackrabbits remain, with a total population estimated at fewer than 1,000 individuals. This species has a restricted range and is threatened by habitat loss and human-caused fires, as well as by hunting. Unfortunately, conservation laws are not well enforced and this species’ habitat is unprotected. Urgent protection of its habitat is therefore needed, together with better enforcement of hunting regulations. Captive breeding, educational programmes and further research may also benefit this rare hare.
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Liz Shaw, ARKive Text Author