Wednesday June 28, 2023

CBS News

Northern California’s record-breaking wet season is wiping out some wildlife and allowing others to thrive. The San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is home to the endangered riparian brush rabbits and is also where nutria, known as the swamp rat, are emerging.

The refuge is currently closed to the public because of all the flooding. The rising waters are putting riparian brush rabbits at risk, already wiping out about 80% of its population.

CBS13 joined California Representative Josh Harder and U.S. Fish and Wildlife experts on Wednesday to learn more about the keystone species.

“They are not only an important species to prey on for many predators, but they also tunnel in the vegetation and modify the habitat to make it more suitable for other wildlife like other small mammals,” said Eric Hopson, the refuge manager at the San Joaquin River NWR.

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