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versión On-line ISSN 2007-3364


LORENZO, Consuelo; RIOJA-PARADELA, Tamara M.  y  CARRILLO-REYES, Arturo. State of knowledge and conservation of endangered and critically endangered lagomorphs worldwide. Therya [online]. 2015, vol.6, n.1, pp.11-30. ISSN 2007-3364.


Lagomorphs (rabbits, hares, and pikas) are widely distributed in every continent of the world, except Antarctica. They include 91 species: 31 rabbits of the genera Brachylagus, Bunolagus, Caprolagus, Nesolagus, Pentalagus, Poelagus, Prolagus, Pronolagus, Romerolagus, and Sylvilagus; 32 hares of the genus Lepus and 28 pikas of the genus Ochotona. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN 2014), the list of threatened species of lagomorphs includes one extinct, three critically endangered, ten endangered, five near threatened, five vulnerable, 61 of least concern, and six with deficient data. Although a rich diversity of lagomorphs and endemic species exists, some of the wild populations have been declining at an accelerated rate, product of human activities and climate change. In order to evaluate specific conservation actions for species at risk in the near future, the aim of this study is to determine the state of knowledge of endangered and critically endangered species and conservation proposals based on recent studies. This work should serve as a starting point for proposing management and habitat conservation plans for these species and filling the information gaps to address them as soon as possible.


We performed an analysis of the recent trends in the state of knowledge of worldwide endangered and critically endangered lagomorphs, based on the compilation of the recent bibliographic citations in the IUCN list of endangered species (2014), the Lagomorphs Specialist Group of the IUCN web page, and on published studies focusing on these species. Each study was divided into various topics to know those that need to be addressed. We show detailed information for species that are at risk of extinction in the near future (critically endangered and endangered categories), describing the threats to their populations and existing conservation proposals.


A total of 13 endangered and critically endangered species of lagomorphs have been the subject of study with a total of 78 contributions, of which the most frequently represented (25) refer to phylogeny, systematics, taxonomy, and evolution, followed by conservation (18), and ecology (14); the least represented are studies of reproduction and morphology with only one each. The critically endangered and endangered species have restricted distributions and in general, their threat factors are introduction of exotic species; habitat loss due to development of human settlements and productive activities; induced fires for the growth of new grass shoots for livestock; poaching; and the presence of predators and feral dogs.


Worldwide human activities have affected the survival of species of lagomorphs, especially those with restricted distributions. Less than 55 % (7 species) of the total number of species of endangered and critically endangered lagomorphs has been subject of specific study in recent works (2011 to date); moreover, in some cases only one publication was found. Although recent efforts have generated knowledge about the state of conservation and threat factors of some species of endemic lagomorphs, more detailed and long-term studies are needed to propose management and conservation of their habitats in collaboration with society and different academic and institutional sectors.

Palabras llave : Conservation; endemism; hares; lagomorphs; pikas; rabbits; risk category.

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