Endangered New England Cottontail Rabbits Released at Scarborough Marsh
The New England Cottontail Rabbit is an endangered species here in Maine and in an effort to restore their population, eight cottontail rabbits were released in the Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Preserve in late March.
According to newenglandcottontail.org, the New England Cottontail is the only rabbit species native to New England and it's believed there are only 13,000 left.
To help repopulate the species here in Maine, three rabbits were translocated from a breeding colony managed by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Fish and Wildlife. Another five were trapped from a population in Cape Elizabeth.
They were cared for at the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray until they were ready to be released into the 65-acre Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management Area which hasn't seen a New England Cottontail since 2010.
Radio trackers were attached to the rabbits so they could be monitored and after more than two weeks in the marsh, all eight are alive and well, still in the area where they were released.
So now the hope is that these rabbits do what rabbits do so well: Make babies.
There's truth to that old saying "breeding like rabbits." According to Wikipedia, female rabbits can produce 60 new baby rabbits called "kits" every year and once they give birth, they are able to become pregnant the very next day.
So, in theory, if what the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is doing here works, it could bring the New England Cottontail population in the Scarborough Marsh back to healthy numbers in no time.
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