DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Sports

April 11, 2013

Cottontails to benefit from Stonyfield 5K

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The Nongame Program and the Service’s New England Field Office will host a scavenger hunt during the children’s race and a booth with fun New England cottontail activities and important information about the conservation effort.

Restoration of New Hampshire’s only native cottontail is a major effort among six states to restore their population and protect them before they disappear forever. New England cottontails are endangered in New Hampshire and are a candidate for listing under the Federal Endangered Species Act. They occur in parts of southern Maine and New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and southeastern New York. Their current distribution is less than a fifth of their historic range.

To help bring back these rare rabbits, N.H. Fish and Game’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other partners to create more of the shrubland habitat that New England cottontails need for food and shelter.

In addition to the Stonyfield site in Londonderry, this work is occurring in several areas in southern and central New Hampshire. Biologists have also provided supplemental food for the rabbits during the winter months and are actively monitoring areas where wild New England cottontails are known to still occur.

Another part of the project is the Nongame Program’s partnership with the Roger Williams Zoo in Rhode Island, where nine New England cottontails were born in a captive-breeding facility last year. Last September, these rabbits were transported to a special outdoor enclosure in Newington at the Service’s Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, where they spent the winter while transitioning to life in the wild.

Learn more about the New England cottontail at wildnh.com/Wildlife/Wildlife_profiles/new_england_cottontail.html.

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