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Volunteers Needed for New Hampshire Winter Cottontail Rabbit Surveys

DURHAM, NH — This winter, wildlife biologists need help from citizen science volunteers to conduct surveys for Eastern cottontail rabbits in southern New Hampshire. On February 18, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to noon in Newington, UNH Cooperative Extension and New Hampshire Fish and Game will train volunteers to collect pellets from Eastern cottontail rabbits, a known threat to the state-endangered New England cottontail. Winter is the best time to survey for cottontail rabbits, because they leave telltale signs (pellets) in the snow, making it possible to locate and sample for different species.

During the training, which will be held at the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, volunteers will be introduced to the project, learn about rabbit habitat, and review sampling and data collection techniques. Participants will receive supplies and instructions to collect samples on their own following the training. Volunteers should be willing to commit to survey at least one property (public/conserved land, or privately owned land with landowner permission) in southern New Hampshire this winter.

For more information and to sign up, visit newengland.stewardshipnetwork.org. If you have questions, contact Haley Andreozzi at haley.andreozzi@unh.edu or (603) 862-5327.

Eastern cottontails were introduced into New England as a game species in the early 1900s and have since become the dominant rabbit in New Hampshire. Unlike the native, state-endangered New England cottontail, Eastern cottontails are better able to survive in fragmented, human-dominated landscapes.

“This is a great opportunity to help us better understand where Eastern cottontails occur in New Hampshire, how abundant they are, and the potential threat to New England cottontails,” says Haley Andreozzi, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Wildlife Outreach Coordinator.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program are coordinating the restoration of the New England cottontail in New Hampshire. Learn more at www.wildnh.com/nongame/project-ne-cottontail.html.