Thursday, June 21, 2012

Partnering to save endangered animals: Massachusetts

We're so excited about the new interactive map highlighting endangered species efforts in each state across the nation. Each day we'll feature a state, partner and animal. Subscribe on the right to keep up!

A few decades ago, an uncontrolled wildfire roared through an area of pine barrens on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, burning 8 square miles down to the sandy soil.

Today, the communities and businesses of the town of Mashpee border these fire-prone barrens, as well as lands protected by federal, state and local agencies. Not only do thousands of people live here, but the rare New England cottontail has also found a home in the pitch pines and scrub oaks of the barrens. Read the rest of the story.

Contrary to what some may know, some types of young forests are dependent on
periodic wildfire. Fire management officers mimic the natural fire process to keep a
healthy space for plants and wildlife, including the rare New England cottontail,
which needs this habitat for survival.
Credit: Catherine J. Hibbard/USFWS

Here are some other stories featured on Massachusett's page:
  • New England cottontail: This native rabbit’s population has plummeted over the last several decades, and though it’s disappeared from 86 percent of its historical range, the rabbit can be found in southeast Maine. 
  • Atlantic Coast piping plover: Find out how human activities affect this dainty, sand-colored shorebird on both its breeding and wintering grounds. 
  • Sandplain gerardia: This plant’s decline was so complete that it was thought extinct in the state until rediscovered on Cape Cod in 1980.
  • Plymouth red-bellied cooter: Also known as northern red-bellied cooters, these turtles live in and around cool, freshwater ponds within just one county in Massachusetts—Plymouth. 
Also, check back later this morning for a blog post from one of the biologists whose work is protecting these animals in Massachusetts!

1 comment:

  1. Great article and great job working for the bunnies and the whole ecosystem.