A new report demonstrating the best ways to survey mountain hare numbers has been published by Scottish Natural Heritage. Mountain hares are one of Scotland’s most iconic upland animals but we know relatively little about their conservation status.
Despite this knowledge gap they are subject to unregulated culling and the Trust believes that a robust national survey is needed to help secure their future.
Susan Davies, Director of Conservation, Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “This report makes it clear that relatively little is known about mountain hare numbers or how to manage them sustainably. Despite this lack of information hares continue to be subjected to unregulated culls, and declines have been reported in local populations.
“Now that there is broad agreement on the most appropriate method of monitoring mountain hare numbers it is vital that that a robust national survey is set up in time for counts to take place this autumn. This should inform the legally required assessment of the conservation status of mountain hares under the Habitats Directive.
“Clearer information about mountain hare numbers and better regulation of unsustainable moorland management practices, as called for in our publication Living Landscapes in the Scottish Uplands, can help ensure a positive future for one of Scotland’s most iconic upland animals.”