CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — More than a dozen landowners in southern Maine are participating in an intensive effort to prevent the New England cottontail from disappearing from the landscape.
Officials estimate there are fewer than 300 rabbits in the state and that the cottontail’s range has decreased 60 percent since 2000. They told the Portland Press Herald that after two rough winters, recent surveys found the rabbits no longer are living in places where they were found just a few years ago.
Landowners, including the Sprague Corp. and Ram Island Farm, have agreed to manage their land to bring back the rabbit population. That involves spending three to six years to create the dense thickets and tunnels where the rabbits thrive.