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9 New England cottontails brought to NH - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

9 New England cottontails brought to NH

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Courtesy: Mike Marchand/New Hampshire Fish and Game Courtesy: Mike Marchand/New Hampshire Fish and Game

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Nine rabbits considered an endangered species in New Hampshire are now calling the state home.

The nine New England cottontails were born in a captive-breeding facility at the Roger Williams Zoo in Rhode Island earlier this year.

They are spending the winter in a special outdoor pen in Newington, N.H., and will transition to life in the wild.

Once common throughout the Northeast, the New England cottontail population has decreased dramatically over the past half century as development of land and natural forest growth have cut into its available habitat.

Projects are under way to restore 2,000 acres of shrubland habitat across New Hampshire for the rabbit by 2030.

The Fish and Game Department's Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program has started a fundraising effort to support the restoration.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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