New England’s cottontail rabbits face extinction… if you love them, help save them.

looms… and swiftly so. Even their well-known prolific breeding habits, known to all, cannot save them… without our immediate assistance. Thankfully a measure of that assistance is now at hand…

Under an agreement announced in April, 2011, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will work with private landowners in Cheshire, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham and Strafford counties to help restore the thickets during the next 50 years. The goal is to enroll 3,000 to 5,000 acres to be managed as cottontail habitat.

The agreement in New Hampshire allows the Fish and Game Department to provide assurance to volunteering landowners that their conservation work “won’t jeopardize the future use or value of the land if the species is eventually federally listed,” said Steve Weber, chief of the department’s wildlife division. Such federal listing as an endangered species is probable since the cottontail was listed in 2006 as a candidate under the Endangered Species Act.

Now the good people of New Hampshire can make a start at preserving the cottontails by cutting vegetation to promote shrub development, planting seeds, controlling invasive plants, and transferring some rabbits to the newly created habitats. It is good… but is it enough… and in time?

A candid conclusion.

For thousands of years, New England cottontails were self-sufficient, thank you very much. Then we, homo sapiens, descended, spreading dislocation, disaster, death. Now the future of these silky creatures is in our hands. Surely a great nation that can put members of our species on the moon can make a few bucks available to save them and give them the little they need to survive. But will we? That is the open question that demands the right answer, for really what do a few rabbits matter in the scheme of things?

Here is the righteous answer: if we will not protect the small and meek like the cottontails, how can we be expected to do what’s necessary to protect ourselves and the planet? We are all, you see, endangered together. When will we finally come to understand?

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Dr. Lant is also the author of 18 best-selling business books. Republished with author’s permission by Luigi Panarella

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