March 25, 2016
A Rare Rabbit
- as seen by -Barbara Russo
Rabbits have always been a big part of my life. I’ve had them as pets for as long as I can remember. I read about them. I visit them at zoos. I even try to stay on top of rabbit-related headlines. So when the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo began breeding the rare New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis), I was ecstatic! As part of a cooperative breeding program with other organizations, the zoo bred several of these rabbits for introduction to their native New England states.
The above picture shows a New England cottontail that was born at the zoo and released into the wild. I wonder how he (or she) is doing and think about how wonderful it is that the species now has a chance to survive, thanks to conservationists like those at the Queens Zoo. This important conservation work also reminds me of one of my favorite fictional rabbits, Peter Cottontail, created by Springfield, Mass., author Thornton Burgess. Peter’s character is a New England cottontail.
Rabbits, both domestic and wild, are truly amazing animals that have important ecological roles in the world. Plus, they are just plain fun to be around and can turn even the gloomiest of days into a hoppy one.
Here’s to the New England cottontail!