World’s rarest rabbit rescued in Sumatra after being spotted on Facebook

He is considered the rarest rabbit in the world and was almost sold on Facebook. In Sumatra, the non-governmental organization Fauna & Flora International (FFI) was informed of the publication of an advertisement for the sale of a wild rabbit of the species Nonsolagus netcheri. And she quickly intervened, along with the authorities of the Kerinci Seblat National Park, to save him.

After being able to trace the seller, the team discovered that the animal was in captivity. According to the information gathered, he was captured by a local farmer who crossed paths with him at the edge of a national park near a river that had just experienced a massive flood. He had a minor injury to his side but appeared to be in good health.

The successful rescue of this Sumatran striped rabbit was a true team effort and a testament to the extensive support network that operates throughout the park. Once the farmer who caught the rabbit realized its rarity, he was happy to see the rabbit returned to the national park.“, – explained in a press release Deborah Martyr from FFI.

Very rare species

As the name suggests, this mammal can be recognized by its gray coat, streaked with brown in places. It develops in the mountain forests of the island of Sumatra, but there it has become very rare. Apart from a few occasional sightings in nature, the presence of the nocturnal rabbit is primarily evidenced by camera traps.

Seeing a Sumatran rabbit for sale on Facebook is the Indonesian equivalent of stumbling upon a thylacine at a pet store. Tasmania“, the NGO clarified, referring to the Tasmanian tiger, thought to be extinct since the 1930s. Due to its caution and rarity, the species is also largely unknown.

The Sumatran rabbit, cautious and nocturnal, is very rarely seen. Now his presence is evidenced by camera traps. © Jeremy Holden/FFI

Very little is known about this animal, other than the fact that it clearly prefers mossy hills and foothill forests. The only specimens from Sumatra are from the Dutch colonial period. [dans des musées] in the Netherlands, not in Indonesia“, – emphasized Deborah the Martyr.

Like other Sumatran species, Nonsolagus netsheri mainly suffers from habitat loss and fragmentation associated with deforestation on the island. Kerinci Seblat National Park is currently one of the last remaining places where rabbits can live. Hunting, random trapping, and the animal trade are other, albeit minor, threats.

If Kerinci Seblat is world famous for its biodiversity, then it is charismatic animals like tigers, elephants and helmeted hornbills that keep people talking. Too often people forget that this park also protects rare species such as the Sumatran striped rabbit.“, Tamen Sitorus, director of the national park, said in a press release.

Returned to nature

In good health, the captured specimen may have been re-introduced into the forest at a site selected based on camera trap data. “It’s always good to release animals into the wild“said Herizal, a member of the ranger team who has never encountered a striped rabbit despite having patrolled the park for more than eight years.

And it was much less stressful than releasing a tiger! We let him go, he looked around, and then he began to eat the leaves. He looked very relaxed“, he said. FFI-recommended Tiger Protection and Conservation Patrols conduct regular anti-poaching operations in the park.

In recent years, they have traveled a total of more than 30,000 kilometers and removed thousands of traps to save many endangered species.

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