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Conserving the New England Cottontail

New England Cottontail

Photo by Linda Cullivan, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region

In an effort to bolster New England cottontail numbers, wildlife biologists have captured five cottontails from stable populations in eastern Connecticut and will transfer them to the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island as part of a breeding program.  The offspring, once old enough, will be radio collared and released into Rhode Island. If the program is successful, they will release the young into other New England states as well.

It’s strange to think that such a prolific animal could be in danger of extinction, but the New England cottontail population has been dwindling for quite some time now due to loss of habitat (shrubby, “early successional” habitat) and competition with larger, hardier Eastern cottontails (which are not native to the region).

For more information, see: The Day.