Endangered Species
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Friends of Ellisville Marsh Provide a Model to Protect Shorebird Nesting Sites

Ellisville Beach is a barrier beach harboring a 71-acre salt marsh in Plymouth, Massachusetts, a few miles north of the Cape Cod Canal. Since 2007, this small beach and the adjacent Ellisville Harbor State Park beach...Read More

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A Watchful Eye Protects the Piping Plover

Like many other summer-time beach goers, Judy Besancon enjoys the views, smells, and feel of the ocean waters and sandy dunes. But unlike other beach goers, her mission at the beach this day is education. Read More

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Rare Bunnies Benefit from Controlled Burns in Massachusetts

The New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis) loves the thickets and brush found in young forests in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine. This ...Read More

Featured Species in Massachusetts

Atlantic Coast piping plover , photo credit:  USFWS

Atlantic Coast piping plover

The piping plover is a dainty, sand-colored shorebird, distinguished from other small North American plovers by its pale plumage and bright orange legs. Human activities can disturb piping plovers on both their breeding and wintering grounds.     More »


Atlantic Coast piping plover.

Photo credit: USFWS

New England cottontail , Photo credit: : Pam Wells

New England cottontail

The New England cottontail population has plummeted over the last several decades, disappearing from 86 percent of its historical range.

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New England cottontail.

Photo credit: Pam Wells

Partnership Stories in Massachusetts

New England Cottontail

New England Cottontail

As recently as 1960, New England cottontails were found east of the Hudson River in New York, across all of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, north to southern Vermont and New Hampshire, and into southern Maine. Today, this rabbit's range has shrunk by more than 75 percent. Its numbers are so greatly diminished that it can no longer be found in Vermont. More »

Found in Massachusetts

  • Sandplain gerardia. Photo credit: Bruce Sorrie, New England Wildlflower Society

    Sandplain gerardia (Agalinis acuta) historically occurred in 24 populations in Massachusetts—on Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and a few disjunct populations as far west as Worcester County. The plant's decline was so complete that it was thought extinct in the state until rediscovered on Cape Cod in 1980. Intensive management, including scientific research, reintroductions, habitat protection and habitat management have helped the Massachusetts populations grow in recent years.

    Photo credit: Bruce Sorrie, New England Wildlflower Society

  • Plymouth red-bellied cooters. Photo credit: Bill Byrne, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

    Today, the Plymouth red-bellied cooters (Pseudemys rubriventris ssp. bangsi), also known as Northern red-bellied cooters, live in and around cool, freshwater ponds within just one county in Massachusetts-Plymouth. The small population size and limited range of the species, in addition to habitat loss and degradation, can hinder the species' long-term survival. Headstarting efforts – caring for hatchlings before safe release into the wild – and habitat protection will play a crucial role in restoring the species.

    Photo credit: Bill Byrne, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

See other species listed in Massachusetts
Last updated: June 4, 2020