Easter is still a great day for celebrations and egg hunts, but climate change is making it worse for bunnies. Rising temperatures are harming at least five species of US rabbit, reports Dean Kuipers at the LA Times. The endangered Lower Keys Marsh rabbit is already severely affected by Florida Keys development, and now, by sea-level rise. Just a 3-foot rise, which many consider likely by 2100, will wipe out these cute cottontails completely. Snowshoe hares are suffering dysfunction in fur color, controlled by the daily number of sunlight hours. But longer, snow-free seasons means the animal is still colored winter white in a dark, snow-free landscape in spring and fall, making it easy for predators to spot; hunters note its numbers are already down. American pikas or rock rabbits, related to rabbits, live high in the cool, moist mountaintops west of the Rockies, but higher temperatures could trap them, forcing them into extinction. The tiniest US bunnies are endangered pygmy rabbits, each less than a pound and living among western sagebrush. Besides habitat loss from development, they now experience less snow, which means less winter cover from predators.
Climate change making Easter worse for bunnies. Easter is still a great day for worship, candy in baskets, pagan equinox rituals and running around the yard finding eggs, but every year it gets quite a bit worse for bunnies. From the Lower Keys marsh rabbit to the snowshoe hare, the culprit is climate change. Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la-me-gs-climate-change-vs-easter-bunnies-20120405,0,2110592.story?track=rss