On March 1st this year Scotland’s Mountain Hares received protection (on paper anyway). Thanks to the efforts of Green MSP Alison Johnstone, new regulations mean that it is ‘illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take Mountain Hares without a licence‘ (as we pointed out in Scotland | Mountain Hares are now a protected species the ‘without a licence‘ clause is of course extremely important here. How easy it will be to get a licence and, crucially, how strictly Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH, the licence-issuers) will ensure that licence criteria are adhered to will be a vital measure of how seriously this legislation is taken).
The actions in Scotland now leave the isolated populations of Mountain Hares in England and Wales unprotected. Especially unprotected on grouse moors in the Peak District where the hares there survive under the same gamekeeping regime as their Scottish counterparts. The same regime that led to legislation in the Scottish parliament.
Mountain Hares could easily be given adequate protection by an amendment to the Wildlife & Countryside Act, the primary legislation which protects animals, plants and habitats in the UK. Which is exactly what the Hare Preservation Trust is asking for in a new petition launched yesterday.
If you agree that leaving Mountain Hares unprotected is a ridiculous anomoly that needs to be fixed as soon as possible, then please sign the petition here or click the image below