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Maine Touts 2009 as the Year of the New England Cottontail

New England cottontail

The New England cottontail is Maine’s only native rabbit, and it’s on the state’s endangered species list. I mentioned in a previous post how forest growth and habitat fragmentation had curbed the New England cottontail’s population. A further threat has been competition with a larger, sharper-eyed non-native rabbit, the Eastern cottontail. These rabbits were introduced to the area in the 1920s by state wildlife management agencies and private hunting clubs to increase game populations.

As a result, the York Land Trust has decided their wildlife mascot for 2009 will be the New England cottontail, and they are working to preserve an area in York that includes scrubby brush, a prime habitat for the cottontails. They may also supplement the area, which used to be a golf course, by building burrows and adding more brush piles.

For more information see: