Survey of Protected Scottish Mountain Hares Hailed a Success

A study of mountain hares has been hailed as a good results a yr just after they ended up manufactured a secured species.

Hillwalkers, fowl and mammal surveyors, and other out of doors fans took aspect in a countrywide survey past calendar year, recording sightings using an application termed Mammal Mapper when out and about, to get rid of more light-weight on the distribution and numbers of hares.

Mountain hares are Scotland’s only indigenous hare and an crucial species in the Scottish hills.

They are classified as near-threatened in Scotland on the Crimson Checklist of Mammal Species in the United Kingdom, and were being offered complete safety in Scotland in March 2021.

Mountain hare in England
A mountain hare photographed in Derwent Moors, England.
polandeze/Wikimedia Innovative Commons Attribution 2. Generic license

The Volunteer Mountain Hare Survey venture aimed at gathering precise information to better tell conservation initiatives.

A complete of 66 volunteers surveyed 1,465 km (910 miles) making use of the application.

The species was recorded in some new regions, these types of as in the vicinity of Loch Ewe in the Northwest Highlands, in addition to many sightings from its previously known strongholds in Scotland.

The report highlights regions in which the study strategy and technological know-how could be enhanced, which will guide refinements for this year’s survey.

The challenge is a partnership of NatureScot, the British Have faith in for Ornithology (BTO), the Mammal Society, the Video game & Wildlife Conservation Have confidence in, and the James Hutton Institute.

It builds on former perform to create suited counting techniques in the mountain hare’s main range and seeks to complement these other counts to make it possible for improved monitoring of mountain hares throughout their array in Scotland. The hope is that the survey will in thanks system transition to an ongoing yearly monitoring plan.

Frazer Coomber, science officer for the Mammal Modern society, stated “When when compared with prior years, the Volunteer Mountain Hare Survey has significantly greater the Mammal Mapper App’s survey coverage in Scotland.

“Considering the fact that the inception of this citizen science survey we have seen a considerable improve in the selection of mountain hare sightings claimed by the application and these documents are continuing to be submitted – a big thank you to all these who submit their sightings.”

Rob Raynor, a mammal specialist at NatureScot, stated: “The success from this impressive citizen science study are genuinely promising, with lots of volunteers obtaining involved to aid attain superior coverage than former surveys.

“Strengthening the facts we have on mountain hare populations is vital so that we can secure and preserve this much-beloved species, so we are hugely grateful to all individuals who took element.

“We hope that several additional volunteers will signal up to get included this yr to support this task go from power to toughness.”

Mark Wilson, senior investigate ecologist at British Belief for Ornithology, reported: “We have been delighted at the levels of involvement from present BTO volunteers, several of whom now give generously of their time to other wildlife surveys.

“As effectively as recording mountain hares, these volunteers surveyed a selection of other mammal and hen species, often in remote upland places wherever there has been minor earlier wildlife recording.

“This highlights the possible of the Volunteer Mountain Hare Study to add practical data on a variety of facts-deficient upland species.”

The mountain hare (Lepus timidus) can also be found other folks components of the U.K., as nicely as in several cold, mountainous locations of the globe, which include Siberia, Poland and the Faroe Islands.

This tale was presented to Newsweek by Zenger Information.