The species of rabbit found in Maine is the New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis), which is different from the Eastern cottontail. Cottontails thrive in early successional habitat that was relatively abundant in the early to mid-20th century. As farms were abandoned, the species did very well. Subsequently, increased development and reforestation has led to a population decline as this type of habitat became increasingly rare.
Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge prohibited rabbit hunting as of 1998 due to ongoing population declines. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was petitioned in 2000 to list the New England cottontail under the Endangered Species Act.
Currently, New England Cottontail are listed as a candidate species under the Endangered Species Act and is listed as endangered in Maine. To learn more about this rabbit visit newenglandcottontail.org or download the New England Cottontail factsheet. Because they are so rare, it is unlikely that visitors will see these rabbits.