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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

During the Colonial era when up to 75% of New England's forests were cleared for farming, the New England Cottontail rabbit thrived................A creature of early successional forests and brushy fields, it was abundant in this environment.................As farms were abandoned post the Civil War and as the forests came back to this region, the New England Cottontail began to wane in numbers...............This decline accelerated with the introduction of the Eastern Cottontail rabbit...................Now, environmental groups are seeking the cooperation of New England landowners to keep a % of their property in young forest and field so to encourage the diversity that the New England Cottontail historically brings to the region

New England Cottontail

Restoring a Rare Rabbit

Cottontail Image
Rabbits need habitat for feeding and raising their young./J. Greene

The New England
 cottontail lives in parts
 of New England and
 New York state. The 
range of this once-common
 rabbit has 
shrunk and its population
 has dwindled
 over the last 50 years,
so that today
this unique native
 mammal faces 
possible extinction.
The most critical threat to the cottontail 
is a loss of habitat – the places where 
rabbits can find food, rear young, and
escape predators.
 Development has taken 
over much of the land once inhabited by
 cottontails and
other wildlife. And many 
thousands of acres that used to be young
 (ideal bunny habitat) have grown
 up into middle-aged and older woods,
where cottontails
 don't generally live.
Today the New England cottontail is
restricted to coastal
 southwestern Maine, 
southeastern New Hampshire, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, and
 southeastern New York – less
 than a fifth of its historic range.
Read Saving a New England Native (pdf),
 article on New 
England cottontail 
conservation fromNorthern Woodlands Magazine.

This Cottontail Needs Brush

New England cottontails need brush, 
shrubs, and
 densely growing young 
trees, habitats described by the general
 term young 
forest. In the past, 
natural factors created plenty of young
 forest. But
 today, because we don't 
let wildfires burn unchecked or beaver
 dams flood and 
kill trees, and because 
many people oppose clearcut logging,
 we no longer have
 enough of this habitat 
for New England cottontails and the
 dozens of other wild
 animals that need it.

American Woodcock needs brushy, young
 forest habitat


People and their activities have made the
less hospitable to cottontails. Fortunately,
we can 
manage the remaining acres of potential
 habitat to
 help the New England cottontail, along with
 birds such
 as the American woodcock, golden-winged
brown thrasher, and indigo bunting, and
 like the 
black racer and wood turtle, to name but
a few.
More than 100 kinds of wildlife in the
 Northeast use 
young forest during part or all of their life
 cycles. Making 
and renewing young forest can be
time-consuming and 
expensive, and it needs to be an ongoing
 task. But we
 owe it to wildlife -- and to our children
 grandchildren -- to keep enough of
 this important
 natural resource around.

You Can Help!

Today, the New England cottontail is
being considered 
for listing under the federal Endangered
 Species Act.
 If it gets placed on the endangered 
species list,
 then federal agencies will have the
 primary responsibility 
to boost the bunny's population and
save its habitat. 
Conservationists from all sectors --
federal, state, 
and private -- agree that it makes
 much more sense, 
and will be far more efficient, to keep
 the cottontail 
off the endangered species list in the
 first place. How 
can that be done? By making enough
 acres of habitat 
so that the species' population rises
 and it's no longer 
in danger of going extinct.
To meet this goal, conservationists
 need help from
 landowners, businesses, and the public.
we can save the New England cottontail
-- a beloved 
wild creature and a key part of our natural
 (17.8 MB) publication providing information
 on how
 to create and maintain habitat for cottontails.

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