Did you know that winter is the best time to survey for cottontail rabbits? They leave telltale signs (pellets) in the snow, making it possible to locate and sample for different species. Wildlife biologists need help from citizen science volunteers to conduct surveys for Eastern cottontail rabbits in southern New Hampshire. On February 3, 2018 from 9:00am-Noon, 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.
The training will be held at Hollis/Brookline High School, where wildlife biologists will introduce the project, describe rabbit habitat, and explain sampling and data collection techniques. Then, we'll break into groups and volunteers will work to survey nearby rabbit habitat and see examples of tracks and pellets. 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.
More about Cottontails: 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. NH Fish & Game needs your help to better understand where Eastern cottontails occur in New Hampshire, how abundant they are, and the potential threat to New England cottontails.