The Easter Bunny is available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on:
- Saturday, April 4
- Sunday, April 5
- Friday, April 10
- Saturday, April 11
A visit with the Easter Bunny is fun and gets everyone thinking about the rabbits seen hopping about in fields and backyards. Did you know that the rabbits many of us regularly see are the common Eastern cottontail rabbit?
At this time of year at Roger Williams Park Zoo, conservationists and biologists are also thinking about rabbits, and in turn, are working to save the rare New England cottontail rabbit. Unfortunately, the New England cottontail, once abundant throughout the region, is now a threatened species of native rabbit.
Along with staff from the zoo, a number of biologists from the New England Cottontail Captive Breeding Working Group are working together to restore populations by breeding these rabbits in captivity, and releasing them in their natural habitat. This program is making promising progress toward boosting cottontail numbers, while the partners also attempt to protect and restore habitat throughout the animal’s region. The Roger Williams Park Zoo started breeding New England cottontails in 2011 as part of a multistate, multiagency program to bring back the rabbits.
The initiative, spearheaded by Lou Perrotti, director of conservation programs, was awarded, in conjunction with Queens Zoo, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums 2019 North American Conservation Award. Roger Williams Park Zoo was honored for its work on the New England Cottontail Rabbit Captive Breeding and Recovery Program, signifying the Zoo's outstanding efforts to save this rare and threatened species of native rabbit. The goal of the program is to restore populations in areas in Rhode Island and New Hampshire.