Burning on Cape Cod aims to bring back rabbit habitat
MASHPEE (AP) — Groups at a Cape Cod wildlife refuge are hoping to use controlled burning to bring back the habitat of the threatened New England cottontail rabbit.
The Cape Cod Times reports that the 10-year project at the Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge began last month.
Federal statistics indicate about 86 percent of the rabbits’ natural habitat in New England has been lost. In Mashpee, that’s actually because vegetation has gotten thicker.
The area targeted by officials used to be a sheep farm, but now it has dense shrubs and tall trees that block sunlight and inhibit growth. The rabbits like a habitat that offers protection, but it’s not habitable when it’s too dense.
The clearing has started with machines, and project organizers hope burning will begin later this spring.