I have learned more about rabbits in a day than I can find in a week. Very exciting information. I can’t release specifics as some projects are unpublished and I don’t want to steal anyones thunder. I can tell you that most of my hypotheses have been confirmed: inbreeding depression is a prevalent issue in wild populations and domestics, the American Pika is endangered despite not receiving an appropriate status, white tailed jackrabbits and snowshoe hares are both in decline as a result of human interference and climate change, and I’m not the only one that’s beginning to notice that the wild rabbit populations are not being monitored properly and there are basically no rabbit experts or knowledgeable individuals even checking in most cases.
All these theories are negative, but it’s not too late to start actively trying to fix them. Breeding programs would benefit a number of endangered species. Hybridization is still possible and can have real benefits to both domestic and wild populations. There are 150 experts in 20 countries attending this conference and they are all working a piece of the problem. There is even talk of a collaborative international effort. It will likely be a European Lagomorpha study, but its still exciting.
There was a strong American presence which I found surprising. I tried asking several questions, but they didn’t land well. I stated my case in a workshop and I was summarily shut down. Domestics aren’t the mission of the World Lagomorpha Society. A little ironic, but they are doing important work and often for no pay. They also need more funding opportunities. I was hoping to rally a number of resources to help aid them in their research.
I can’t wait to see what’s in store tomorrow!