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Environment and Outdoors

New England Cottontail Making a Comeback in the Region

By Michael Casey, The Associated Press
DOVER, N.H. - An ambitious program to bolster the population of the threatened New England cottontail in New Hampshire and Rhode Island appears to be working.

About 36 rabbits have been released in New Hampshire since 2013, and upward of 1,000 acres of young forests, shrub land and thickets that the rabbits depend upon for shelter and food have been restored. Around 70 rabbits have been released in Rhode Island, while a Maine release is pending state approval.

The rabbits have established a presence at sites in both Rhode Island and New Hampshire, a key goal in restoring a population that has dwindled due to the loss of its favorite habitat. In New Hampshire, the rabbits have lost about 80 percent of their habitat over the past 50 years.