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Activists pursue big efforts to save tiny rabbits

An environmental group in the Western U.S. is going to court to demand that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decide whether or not to grant endangered species protections to the rare pygmy rabbit.

The lawsuit was filed last Wednesday by the Western Watershed Project in the same Boise, Idaho, federal court in which the government agency was given a 12-month deadline for deciding the matter in January 2008, the Mercury News reports.

John Marvel of Western Watersheds told the Mercury News, "This case will be settled very quickly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because they are violating a court order right now and have no defense."

The adorable species weigh only about one pound and fit in the palm of a human hand.

In 2003, the federal government gave the pygmy rabbits endangered species designation in Washington state, but the lawsuit seeks government action regarding the species' population in California, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah.

Endangered species protections for the small borrowing animals could help the government pursue projects like the captive breeding program that was developed in Washington, the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife reports.
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