NH Rabbit Reports (nhrabbitreports.org) is asking for citizen scientists to submit information on rabbits in New Hampshire this winter.
Anyone can participate by collecting data, taking photos, and reporting sightings which could help the NH Rabbit Reports team learn more about where rabbit species are located in the state.
Participants can use a smartphone or computer to submit a sighting information and photograph to NH Rabbit Reports, and no species identification skills are required.
In New Hampshire, wildlife watchers may encounter Eastern cottontails, New England cottontails, and snowshoe hares.
NH Rabbit Reports sighting information helps researchers understand the distribution and potential abundance of these species.
By understanding the relationship between the distributions of the two rabbit species, organizations and state agencies can make informed decisions about habitat management.
This is vital for rabbit species, particularly for the New England cottontail, which is classified as a state-endangered species in New Hampshire.
The New England cottontail is native to New Hampshire, but has seen dwindling population numbers over the last several decades throughout its range, mostly due to habitat loss and fragmentation.
New England cottontails require large areas of early-successional habitat to avoid predators, and they typically don’t venture far from thick shrubs and young trees.
Meanwhile, eastern cottontails are able to venture farther from protective cover and are better equipped to survive in the human-dominated habitats of New England.
N.H. Fish and Game coordinates a comprehensive effort to survey for the presence of New England cottontail rabbits in and around the areas where they are known to be present.
However, less is known about where and in what numbers eastern cottontails are found in the state.
“We have received hundreds of sightings from people in New Hampshire reporting the rabbits they see,” said Heidi Holman, a wildlife biologist who coordinates N.H. Fish and Game’s New England cottontail restoration efforts. “The Rabbit Reports website gives us the opportunity to build a map and database of all this information to collect distribution information about eastern cottontail rabbits in one place.”
NH Rabbit Reports is sponsored by UNH Cooperative Extension and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, with support from the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire.
For more information, visit the project website at nhrabbitreports.org
source: New Hampshire Fish and Game Department