A breed of rabbit that once filled the forests of Maine is estimated down to about 300 state wide.

The Portland Press Herald was recently told that this is a good time to look for the hares which closely resemble snowshoe hares because the New England Cottontail stays brown in winter while snowshoe hares turn white.

Currently New England cottontails are an endangered species in the state of Maine.  And to keep track of the situation each winter, biologists from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife partner up with conservation groups to survey sites known to have cottontails. A New England Cottontail non profit shows most of them showing up in the Portland area however, they have been spotted around Bar Harbor as well. The site also shows ways for landowners to learn how to make habitats to help in the restoration.

New England cottontails were once seen up and down much of the Maine coast but have diminished in numbers as they have lost their dense, shrubby habitat.

If you see one of these endangered rabbits you can report the sighting to assistant biologist Cory Stearns at cory.r.stearns@maine.gov.