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Tag Archives: wild rabbits

Wild Rabbits at Risk

In a very eye-opening slide show, Scientific American revealed that 30% of the world’s rabbit species are at risk. The slide show profiled 6 species of wild rabbit and 1 species of hare in danger of extinction in their native habitats. Included are the European rabbit, Amami rabbit, hispid hare, lower keys marsh rabbit, New England cottontail, volcano rabbit, and pygmy rabbit.

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Urban Rabbit Population Explosion in Finland

Feral rabbit in Helsinki, Finland

An estimated 7000 feral rabbits are currently living in Helsinki. These former pets and offspring of former pets are spreading into other regional areas in efforts to find land enough to sustain them. The rabbits have been destroying park land and local vegetation in their quest for food.

Few natural predators and mild winters have added to the population growth. Arno Kasvi, head gardener at Turku University’s Botanical Gardens, has called for a culling of the rabbits before the population becomes unmanagable.

Additional article: http://www.yle.fi/uutiset/news/2009/02/urban_rabbit_population_explodes_554379.html

New England Cottontails in Decline

Once ranging throughout all the states of New England, the New England cottontail population has plummeted in recent years. Their range has dwindled by 75% and they can no longer be found in Vermont.

Researchers believe the decline is caused by the change in environment. New England cottontails thrive in young forests (forests 25 years old or less) that include a lot of shrubs and thickets. They also rely on interbreeding between cottontail populations in order to produce healthier, more genetically diverse offspring.

Unfortunately for New England cottontails, forests have been growing for 100 years after the decline of colonial agriculture in 1900, which means the shrubs and thickets have given way to trees. Furthermore, the landscape has been divided by housing development and roads, making it very difficult for the rabbit populations to mix.

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