|The Brown Hare population at Eakring and Kersall|
|Like most other farmland
wildlife, Brown Hares have suffered over the past decades
through persecution and habitat loss.
Although numbers are down on those of the 1950's the Eakring and Kersall area still manages to maintain a healthy population. Apparently the population here, makes up one of the highest Brown Hare population densities in Nottinghamshire.
All this comes despite modern farming methods and a bigger threat to any increase in numbers, is almost certainly due to the number of Hares which are killed on the area's roads each year. On average, around six Brown Hares are killed annually.
A population count, carried out on March 20th 2004, revealed a minimum of 27 adults in the Eakring and Kersall area.
|The traditional sight of "boxing" males is still not unusual during the early part of the year and their most favoured habitat/sites to see Brown Hares here, are generally the large open cereal fields around Eakring Flash and both the Hare Hill Wood and Red Hill areas. With the successful Countryside Stewardship scheme application by one Eakring farmer, a more secure future for the Brown Hare does look set to be safe-guarded for many years.|
|Life History of
the Brown Hare
Hares can be prolific breeders and may become pregnant as early as February, with females able to produce three or four litters until late Summer. The young are initially left together in the open but over the following days, move apart. The female returns to the young once a day to feed them until they are fully weaned.
The Brown Hare's breeding success is partially dependent on the weather. Warm dry Springs and Summers allow females to have successive pregnancies and leverets (young) survive well. Under wet and cold conditions breeding success is poor and leverets often succumb to cold and disease.
During the late 1800s there were about four million brown hares in Britain. But recent surveys show the brown hare has declined by more than 80% during the past 100 years and the decline is ongoing. In some parts of Britain, such as the South-West, the Brown Hare is almost a rarity and may even be locally extinct.
Despite its decline, the Hare is the only game species in Britain which does not have a shooting close season. Large, shoots in East Anglia during February and March can account for 40% of the entire national population. Source:- Brown-Hare-preservation.co.uk
Concern at the brown hares decline has led to a government Biodiversity Action Plan which has among its aims a doubling of the brown hare population by the year 2010. Recent research at the University of Bristol suggests this target is unlikely to be achieved by habitat management alone and measures need to be taken to reduce hare mortality.