The rare pygmy rabbit is not much bigger than your hand, which explains in part why it’s so rare: bigger animals like to eat it.
Now, it’s making a comeback. Twenty of them were released yesterday in a remote wildlife reserve in central Washington.

They’re the product of a captive breeding program run by Washington State University and the Portland, Oregon zoo. Researchers bred the last known Columbia Basin wild rabbits with the more prolific Idaho pygmy rabbits.

The Pacific regional director of the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service compares it to the effort to save the California condor, only harder, because as he puts it, “a lot more things eat bunnies than condors.”

Still, he says, anytime you can bring something back from zero, it’s cause to celebrate.