The Amami Rabbit, Pentalagus furnessi, is listed as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Having evolved in isolation on two small Japanese islands lacking mammalian predators, this heavy-bodied species has a very distinctive appearance.
Owing to widespread habitat degradation brought about by logging and habitat loss, the Amami Rabbit population has undergone a significant decline, with only four fragmented subpopulations remaining. Since 1980, the amount of old growth forest on the islands of Amami and Tokuno has declined by an alarming 70 to 90 percent. In addition, predation by introduced mammalian predators, such as dogs, cats and mongooses, poses a further threat to this species’ survival.
The Amami Rabbit is classified as a Japanese National Monument and as such receives protection from hunting and capture. However, habitat loss and other species intrusion are currently the major threats to the survival of this rare species, and the protection of remaining forests and management of other species intrusion will be the key to securing the future of this unique rabbit.