Core Pygmy Rabbit Habitat in the Greater Hart-Sheldon

Jim Davis

The Greater Hart-Sheldon is more than 3 million acres of sagebrush steppe anchored by Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in southeastern Oregon and Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in northern Nevada. This area has been identified as one of the most important core habitats for pygmy rabbits remaining in the West.

Pygmy rabbits cannot survive without sagebrush. They dig their burrows and raise their young among the quintessential shrub, and depend on it as forage throughout the year. The degradation or loss of sagebrush habitats due to livestock grazing, juniper expansion, invasive grasses and wildfire threaten pygmy rabbit populations, which are also sensitive to disease and loss of genetic diversity. In light of these threats, retaining large, intact tracts of sagebrush habitat such as the Greater Hart-Sheldon is vital for the survival of this unique species.

ONDA applied new information developed by researchers at the University of Nevada-Reno to create the map below, which highlights how much of the pygmy rabbit core habitat lies both inside and outside federally protected reserves.

Download the map

voices

John Cunningham, ONDA member and volunteer

John Cunningham, ONDA member and volunteer

Restoration is hard slow work. It takes hold, or it doesn’t, in fits and starts. The immensity of the need can be discouraging, but we must carry on. I am so thankful ONDA carries on.

listen

Greater Sage Grouse and Sparrows at Hart Mountain

Greater Sage Grouse and Sparrows at Hart Mountain

voices

Aaron Tani, Sage Society Member

Aaron Tani, Sage Society Member

“It feels good to support ONDA on a monthly basis, because I know they never stop supporting our public lands. ONDA works to help make our lands a better place for the future, and I feel like I’m a part of that every month with my support.”