The inspiration for the children’s book character Peter Cottontail has long been rare in its home range, from New York to Maine.
Efforts from private and public organizations have brought it back from the brink.
The New England Cottontail is the native rabbit in these parts, and its population dipped so low that in 2006 it was placed on the Endangered Species list.
Begun in 2008, state, federal, and private conservation efforts managed to preserve open spaces, eliminate invasive species, and recreate the rabbit’s preferred thicket habitats in its historic range. Last week, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced that, having reached a population of 10,500 in protected areas, the rabbit is being removed from the Endangered Species list.