Once abundant to the area, the New England Cottontail is now a rare species, threatened by habitat loss. (AP)

From east of the Hudson River and up through New England, efforts are underway to save what’s become a rare species of rabbit — the New England Cottontail. It’s the species that was a staple for Native Americans and early settlers, but it’s now threatened by habitat loss. In an attempt to avoid placing the rabbit on the endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to increase its numbers by creating new habitat.

It’s hard to believe that a rabbit could have trouble reproducing. But that’s the case with the New England Cottontail, whose range is shrinking. One place where relic populations remain is on Cape Cod. And Mashpee resident Tony Perry is using his skills as a tracker and trapper to help biologists with an on-the-ground study to learn where they still exist.

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