Officials have captured 33 endangered pygmy rabbits that survived a wildfire in central Washington state and moved them to other breeding sites.

Biologist John Gallie with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife told The Seattle Times in a story Friday that the rabbits were captured late last month after the wildfire burned sagebrush the rabbits need for food and shelter.

Gallie says about 70 rabbits died at the 10-acre Beezley Hills site, one of four in the state where biologists have been breeding the rabbits for release into the wild.

Gallie says it will be years before the Beezley Hills site can support a rabbit population again.

But he says the breeding sites were separated to prevent a total loss if a wildfire occurred.


Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com