This photograph shows a “bunny bunker” for the New England Cottontail Rabbit. Several of these shelters were recently created in Perkinstown Commons in an effort to restore the rabbit’s natural habitat, which has largely disappeared due to forest succession. Cottontails once thrived in the fields and young forests of Maine, but are not adapted to life in our mature forests. The NE Cottontail is now under consideration for protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Markus Diebolt of the WCC has worked closely with biologists (from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and other organizations) to establish a large area that will soon become ideal habitat for the NE Cottontail. As part of the habitat restoration effort, a section of forest in Perkinstown Commons was cleared in the winter of 2012-2013. Soon, the growth of young shrubs and grasses will make this spot ideal for rabbits. The area will be closely monitored for the presence of cottontails.