Recent News

New Research Papers Note Progress in NEC Conservation

Two recent scientific papers will help inform conservationists’ efforts to strengthen populations of the New England cottontail, the only rabbit native to the Northeast.

The first paper looks at gene flow and genetic diversity in both the New England cottontail and the eastern cottontail, two similar species of rabbits whose ranges generally overlap. (Eastern cottontails are not native to the region and were imported in large numbers around the middle of the 20th century.)

Monterey Lays Out Welcome Mat for Imperiled Rabbit

By Felix Carroll in the Berkshire Eagle

New England cottontails have inhabited the region for thousands of years. There isn’t much young forest left to survive in.

Bees and New England Cottontails

By Shawne K. Wickham, New Hampshire Sunday News

Humans are not the only creatures who had a tough year.

New Hampshire beekeepers lost nearly 60% of their hives over the winter, as the state’s honeybees struggled with the effects of last summer’s drought and the ongoing threat of pests called varroa mites.

Helping Rare Wildlife on a Retired Army Shooting Range

By Bridget Macdonald, in Conserving the Nature of the Northeast, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service North Atlantic-Appalachian Region blog

The Army National Guard aims to support rare species in retired shooting ranges and artillery practice zones at Camp Edwards on Cape Cod

Web-Based Storytelling Outlines NEC Conservation

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), a key partner in the initiative to restore the New England cottontail, recently produced an attractive ArcGIS storymap journal outlining conservationists’ efforts to help New England’s only native rabbit.

To view this lively and up-to-date outreach and communications product, click HERE.

Researchers Hope to Reveal Why Rare Cottontails Don’t Breed Like Rabbits

By Todd McLeish, URI Communications, in Westerly Sun

KINGSTON — While viewing hundreds of hours of infrared video footage of captive New England cottontails at Roger Williams Park Zoo, University of Rhode Island senior Hannah Petit watched for signs of breeding behavior.

CT Town Working to Conserve 224 Acres

By Joe Wojtas, The Day (New London, CT)

Stonington — The town of Stonington is partnering with the Trust for Public Land to purchase and preserve 224 acres of forest and farmland. The trust and the town have 12 months to raise the $1.1 million needed to acquire the three parcels, off Al Harvey Road, from trustee Katherine Anne Brewster-Duffy of Los Altos, Calif.

New Wildlife Refuge Unit in Maine

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acquired the first parcel of land in Maine for the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge with the purchase of a 48-acre property in South Berwick and Berwick.

Virus May Threaten Cottontails in Northeast

(The following is excerpted from ecoRI by Todd McLeish)

It hasn’t yet reached Rhode Island, but local scientists are on the lookout for a disease that rapidly kills wild and domestic rabbits before it wipes out the rarest rabbit in the Northeast, the New England cottontail.

Will Tropical Storm Isaias Help Wildlife?

Robert Miller in the New Haven Register

The morning of Tropical Storm Isaias, the sky turned witchy gray-green, “the way it looked in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” said Jim Arigoni, conservation biologist at Deer Pond Farm, the nature sanctuary in Sherman owned by the Connecticut Audubon Society.