New England Cottontail Rabbits Face Extinction

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The iconic New England cottontail rabbit, the inspiration for various stories and songs, could be facing extinction as its Northeast habitat increasingly dwindles, according to NBC News.

The Wildlife Management Institute, a non-profit conservation organization, reports that New England cottontail rabbits have lost 80 percent of their habitat over the last 50 years.

For survival, New England cottontail rabbits require a habitat of young trees with plenty of grasses, shrubs and brush, i.e. a young or immature forest. But much of the land where the species exists has been turned into mature forest, with large, tall trees and not as much ground-level undergrowth. The rabbit population has thinned as a result.

To prevent New England cottontails from winding up on the endangered species list, conservationists are working to restore their habitat, which will benefit other native species as well, including the American woodcock, the golden-winged warbler, the brown thrasher, the indigo bunting, the black racer and the wood turtle, to name just a few.

Meanwhile, the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, R.I., is breeding the rabbits in captivity. The zoo has released 38 of its New England cottontails into restored habitats and estimates it will release 100 more this year.


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I think they may have moved happily into a new habitat. A lovely family lives in our neighborhood in West Cambridge,MA. Interestingly, unlike the #%&*@! squirrels, they mostly eat weeds--especially dandelions. They have never shown any interest in my produce. They are welcome in my garden any time!

April 03 2013 at 7:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There is no shortage in my garden ,and they reproduce at least three times a season.

April 02 2013 at 4:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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