Good news for local bunnies:
The Roger Williams Park Zoo has teamed up with biologists from around the state to help save the New England Cottontail Rabbit.
Back in September [WPRI] reported that the bunny was bordering on extinction . Researchers could only find one in the entire state.
Here’s the problem.
Why would a rabbit, the epitome of prolific breeding, be considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act? The New England cottontail is in just this predicament. Its population numbers are declining. As recently as 1960, New England cottontails were found east of the Hudson River in New York, across all of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, north to southern Vermont and New Hampshire, and into southern Maine. Today, this rabbit’s range has shrunk by about 86 percent. Its numbers are so greatly diminished that it can no longer be found in Vermont and has been reduced to only five smaller populations throughout its historic range.
The zoo plans to release the rabbits to the wild this spring. Here’s hoping they, uh, breed like rabbits.