Some preparatory work for an upcoming collaboration with my friend Dexter, a writer, I have tasked myself with a list of animals that I am going to draw. But now, how to fit jackrabbits with the news? Well, as it turns out, there are several interesting stories about jackrabbits, in my perusals on the web.
Jackrabbits have been studied around nuclear sites for their role in the transport of radionuclides. On the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, burrowing mammals expose radionuclide contaminated salts, which are consumed by jackrabbits then spread through their excrement over an area of ca. 15 square km, and further concentrated in the food chain (source: O’Farrell and Gilbert, 1975, Transport of radioactive materials by jackrabbits on the Hanford Reservation, Health Physics, 29:9-15).
Last year, a well publicized study by University of Montana professor/conservation biologist Joel Berger indicated that the once common jackrabbit has virtually disappeared from Yellowstone National Park.
And on a different note, an interesting article in High Country News about the wildlife refuge that inhabits the site of the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant, The Half-Life of Memory, by Hannah Nordhaus.