Partners in Conservation
Many partners are working to save the New England cottontail: federal and state agencies, universities, wildlife organizations, private companies, towns and municipalities, land trusts, Native American tribes, and foresters helping people manage their land.
The Wildlife Management Institute coordinates efforts aimed at making habitat for the New England cottontail so that this native mammal can continue to thrive in the region where it evolved.
You can help, too, by supporting the efforts of conservationists as they work to make habitat for cottontails. If you own land in a New England cottontail focus area, you may want to create some young forest or shrubland on your property.
Partners identify, protect, improve, and expand key habitat areas. They use the latest scientific techniques – including DNA analysis, radio-telemetry monitoring, and satellite evaluation of habitat – to learn where New England cottontails live and how they move about on the landscape.
At Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, R.I., a captive breeding program is producing scores of young New England cottontails each year, rabbits that are released into the wild to boost dwindling local populations and to start populations in areas where conservationists have restored the thick young-forest habitat that cottontails need.
Partners are creating habitat demonstration areas, projects that help local cottontails while showcasing techniques to make and renew young forest, including clearcut logging, controlled burning, planting native shrubs, and using machines to chew down old, open-grown shrubs so that they grow back as dense, cottontail-friendly habitat – habitat needed by more than 60 kinds of wildlife.
Want to Make Some Habitat?
Contact your state wildlife agency or wildlife extension service for advice on making habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service help conservation-minded landowners help young forest wildlife. Organizations like the Ruffed Grouse Society and National Wild Turkey Federation can also help. Licensed foresters can lay out and supervise a commercial logging cut that may pay for itself while improving conditions for wildlife. For non-commercial projects, full or partial funding may be available.
Even if you don't live in a cottontail focus area, making habitat can really give local wildlife a boost. The website for the Young Forest Project explains how you can help.