SPOKANE, WA.  -- An emergency effort to save endangered Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits will get its first test next week. Scientists next Tuesday will release nearly two dozen of the animals back into their native habitat in Douglas County.

The rabbits to be released are the product of an emergency roundup six years ago of the remaining pygmy rabbits in the region. They were put into a captive-breeding program in a last-ditch effort to increase their numbers.

About 23 pygmy rabbits will be released. They will wear tiny radio transmitters around their necks, to allow biologists to monitor their movements.

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