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Annamite Striped Rabbit

Annamite Striped Rabbitc

Annamite Striped Rabbit

Class: Mammalia

Order: Lagomorpha

Family: Leporidae

Scientific Name: Nesolagus timminsi

IUCN Red List status: Data Deficient


Protected by the following WLT project

Annamite Lowland Forest, Vietnam


Species Range (IUCN)

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Description

The Annamite Striped Rabbit has cream fur with very distinctive dark brown stripes, relatively small ears and a red rump.

Behaviour

Due to the inaccessibility of its mountainous habitat and its elusive nature, not very much is known about the species habitat or ecology. Trail camera footage has shown that it is active at night, and lagomorph biologist Dr Diana Bell from the University of East Anglia has speculated that it is not a burrowing rabbit, its stripes providing good camouflage when it is feeding or sleeping in amongst forest vegetation. 

History

The Annamite Striped Rabbit was first discovered by scientists at a meat market in Laos by Robert Timmins, who noticed its resemblance to the Sumatran Striped Rabbit. He thought it was very unlikely specimens of the Sumatran rabbit would have made their way to the mainland, so bought the rabbits and sent tissue samples for DNA analysis, which confirmed that there were two species of striped rabbit, one endemic to Sumatra (Nesolagus netscheri) and one to the Annamite mountains of Vietnam and Laos (Nesolagus timminsi).

It is thought that at one time there would have been striped rabbits all the way down the Sunda shelf, when Sumatra was joined to the mainland, but they became two species after they were geographically separated and have been genetically diverged for approximately 8 million years.

Habitat

The Annamite Striped Rabbit is endemic to the wet evergreen forests of the Annamite mountain range such as Khe Nuoc Trong. Much of this habitat is fragmented, with large swathes cleared for agriculture or plantations and other parts impacted during the war. 

Conservation

Most of the information known about the rabbit is ‘bycatch’ from other ecological studies of Annamite wildlife, such as trail camera footage from cameras set up to study the elusive Saola or Sunda Pangolin. It is thought that it is probably critically endangered due to its limited range, threats of deforestation to its habitat and overhunting by poachers in this region, but due to lack of research it has not been classified by the IUCN Red List. It will benefit from habitat preservation and ranger patrols in Annamite forests such as Viet Nature Conservation Centre’s project in Khe Nuoc Trong, but in order to learn more about its species-specific conservation, greater studies using trail cameras and radio collars would need to be done.

Learn more

See IUCN Red List of Threatened Species for more information on the classification of the Annamite Striped Rabbit.

References

Can, D. N., Abramov, A. V., Tikhonov, A. N., & Averianov, A. O. (2001). Annamite striped rabbitNesolagus timminsi in Vietnam. Acta Theriologica, 46(4), 437-440.

Sterling, E. J., & Hurley, M. M. (2005). Conserving biodiversity in Vietnam: Applying biogeography to conservation research. PROCEEDINGS-CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, 56, 98.

Surridge, A. K., Timmins, R. J., Hewitt, G. M., & Bell, D. J. (1999). Striped rabbits in southeast Asia. Nature, 400(6746), 726.

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