Image credit: BrownHare.co.uk
35% Increase in Hare Population in One Year
From the crazy looking Mexican walking fish to the lightning fast cheetah, the world is not short of species we are running short of. In fact, a recent study suggests that current projected extinction rates may be seriously flawed, and the outlook for much of the world's wildlife may be even more bleak than we thought. In times like these, conservations success stories are more important than ever - that's why it's so nice to hear from The Guardian that the wild hare is bouncing back on many UK farms. And all it took is some simple conservation measures.In the last 50 years the majestic brown hare has seen its numbers decline by as much as 75% in the UK, so some good news is certainly overdue. But the Wildlife Trusts is reporting that farms that adopt some simple wildlife friendly land management practices are seeing a significant return on their investments. Between 2008 and 2009, hare populations on 60 farms that took part in a special initiative conducted by the Wildlife Trusts increased 35%:
Under the scheme, farmers are leaving wide grass margins in arable fields where the grass grows long and provides shelter for resting adults and young – known as leverets. The farmers also delay grass cutting, to reduce the danger to the leverets, and, when they do cut, they start in the centre and work outwards to give the hares the best chance to escape into neighbouring fields. Other measures include breaking up large areas of cereal crops with grassland and leaving stubble over winter to provide shelter for the animals.
John Cousins, head of agricultural policy for the Wildlife Trusts, said: "Wildcare is a beacon project and this news – that the brown hare is flourishing on these farms – is both encouraging and rewarding evidence farmers can make a difference."
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