Source AP ©

Rabbit named after Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner to get help from wildlife officials

An endangered rabbit named after Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner is getting some help from Florida wildlife officials, who next week will try to block predators from the rabbit's home.

The population of Sylvilagus palustris hefneri a reference to Hefner, who financed research that identified the species in 1980 has dwindled by about 50 percent in the past two years and is in danger of being wiped out, scientists say.

Wildlife officials will begin to trap feral and stray cats in an area of the Florida Keys where the Lower Keys marsh rabbits make their home.

The dark brown cottontail with a grayish-white belly was put on the U.S. endangered species list in 1990 when the population in the Florida Keys was estimated at 200.

Not everyone is happy about the trapping program. Some activists dressed up in cat suits and waved signs in protest when the program was announced a month ago.

Wildlife officials said all cats will be "humanely trapped alive" and then transported to animal shelters.

Russia's Ministry for Foreign Affairs is seriously concerned about the state of health of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Sergei Skrypal's niece, Victoria Skripal, said that her uncle had already died.

UK wants Sergei Skripal dead

The Basmanny Court of Moscow arrested Michael Calvey, the founder of Baring Vostok investment fund, on allegations of embezzling 2.5 billion rubles from Vostochny Bank. Calvey will be held in custody until April 13

Putin informed about arrest of US investor Michael Calvey
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