- Associated Press - Saturday, May 16, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire’s Fish and Game Department says efforts to improve habitat for the endangered New England cottontail seem to be working.

Heidi Holman, a wildlife biologist with the department and leader of the cottontail restoration project, said five to 10 of the rabbits can be found through 11 acres of habitat around the Stonyfield Farm site in Londonderry. Only one or two had been documented in the area before work started to make space for young forest to grow at the site.

Work on cottontail habitat also is being done on several properties owned by the town of Londonderry. The animals depend on a special shrubland habitat for food and shelter.

Restoration of New Hampshire’s only native cottontail is a major effort among the region to restore their population and protect them before they disappear forever. New England cottontails are endangered in New Hampshire and are a candidate for listing under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Their current distribution is less than a fifth of their historic range.

To help bring back the rabbits, the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Wildlife Management Institute and other partners to create more habitat.

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