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NOMANS ISLAND, Mass. (AP) — Federal officials want to use an uninhabited island off Martha’s Vineyard to help boost the New England Cottontail population.

The Cape Cod Times reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed establishing a population of the rabbits on Nomans Land National Wildlife Refuge.

They would do that by releasing rabbits that were caught in the wild on the mainland or those that were raised in captive breeding programs.

The island was once used as an aerial bombardment and gunnery range for the U.S. Navy. The island is closed to the public due to concerns about unexploded ordinance.

While the cottontail’s population has rebounded, wildlife officials say continued conservation efforts are necessary because its habitat is shrinking.

Officials say the island could support more than 600 cottontails.


Information from: Cape Cod (Mass.) Times,