Tag: mountain hare

Petition | Protect Manx Mountain Hares

Mountain Hares, recently given limited protection in Scotland, were reintroduced onto the Isle of Man in the 1950s. They are apparently now confined to island’s northern hills and are not found in the south of the island, the central valley forming an apparently effective barrier. However the species is declining across most of its UK range, and determining the status of the island’s remaining hares has become a priority. Should the Manx government reclassify them from vermin (which they should never have been classified as in the first place) to ‘game’ (ie they can still be shot for entertainment) or ‘protected’ (animals classified as protected cannot be injured or killed under the island’s Wildlife Act)? Shooting lobbyists, including members of the Manx Parliament, would of course like to see these gentle creatures listed as ‘game’, but the Manx Wildlife Trust has said that would “not go far enough” and, that following their re-introduction in the 1950s, the Island now supports “a small but potentially vital population”.

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Brown Hares | Protection at last? We’ve been here before…

An article in a leading national newspaper suggests a “New move to ban shooting of hares in breeding season”. It goes on to say, “The nation’s deep affection for the hare, once a common sight in fields, is recorded in prose, pub names and poetry. Writers including Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll and Ted Hughes have paid tribute to the UK’s fastest land mammal, while any English county will boast at least one pub with the word hare in its name. But now a failure to revive numbers after a century of decline from an estimated four million to under 800,000 has triggered moves to protect hares during their breeding season. Former agriculture minister George Eustice is introducing a private member’s bill that would make it illegal to shoot hares from February to September.” Good news, but before we celebrate too hard haven’t we been promised this before? Yes, we have. And the above quote is actually from an article in The Guardian dated 5th May 2019…

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Scotland | Mountain Hares are now a protected species

Today is being hailed as #MountainHareDay, the day that legislation comes into force which should be a huge step forward in the protection of Mountain Hares – native wild animals, let’s not forget, that only needed protection because gamekeepers on Scotland’s grouse moors were shooting so many of them (why? for the reasons they usually eradicate wildlife from the grouse moor farms of the uplands – to protect shooting profits). As of today new regulations mean that it is illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take Mountain Hares without a licence. 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 (the licence-issuers) will ensure that licence criteria are adhered to will be a vital measure of how seriously this legislation is taken. However, cynicism aside, this is a fantastic achievement by a large number of people, but Scottish Green MSP Alison Johnstone, in particular, has been key to protecting this iconic animal. Our thanks and congratulations go to her…

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Scotland | Date set for ban on unlicensed mountain hare culls

So yet again it turns out that the one thing that really annoys gamekeepers is when a country, its public, its conservationists, and its politicians tell them to stop killing something. It almost doesn’t matter what: Hen Harriers, Golden Eagles – or Mountain Hares. Inevitably they will whine that – oh, you can make the rest up yourselves, but basically it will include ‘economy’. ‘the rural community’, ‘townies don’t understand’ and something nonsensical about Curlews. Which is the gist of what the loudmouthed lobby group that represents a tiny workforce paid to klll wildlife so that wealthy shooters can fly or drive up to Scotland to kill other wildlife is – inevitably – saying now that they can’t just go out and massacre Mountain Hares on a whim. Here at The War on Wildlife Project our hearts bleed for them.

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Mountain Hares (partially) protected

The Scottish Government have finally confirmed they will implement a Scottish Greens amendment to protect Mountain Hares under the proposed Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Act. The amendment came on the back of a 2019 report by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee to the EU which revealed that Scotland’s Mountain Hare populations have experienced a major decline [BTO Breeding Bird Survey mammal data concluded that there had been notable decreases in mountain hare populations in 108 of the 316 10km squares for which the species was assessed in Scotland between 1995/99 and 2011/15 time periods].The report led to the conservation status of the Mountain Hare being downgraded to unfavourable, which meant that special conservation action needed to be undertaken to halt further declines and aid their recovery. The amendment means that Mountain Hares will only be permitted to be killed under licence (for example to ‘protect’ forestry operations), and will effectively end the mass-scale killing on grouse moors.

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Alison Johnstone MSP | Protect Scotland’s mountain hares

“In June your support helped get my amendment passed in the Scottish Parliament to make mountain hares a protected species and to bring about an end to their mass slaughter on Scotland’s grouse moors. It was an important victory in its own right and also because it’s the first time that decisive action has been taken against wildlife persecution on Scotland’s grouse moors. Sadly, however, the Scottish Government has yet to deliver this protection. The open season is due to start again and killing mountain hares without licence can commence once more from today. We must not let this happen. You’ve already helped so much, but we need to make another push.” Alison Johnstone MSP, 01 Aug 2020

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Alison Johnstone MSP | “Fury of the hunting lobby has been astonishing”

On June 17th we noted that, “Some remarkably good news. The Scottish parliament has just voted to protect Mountain Hares”. So what’s the response of the shooting industry to NOT being able to kill Hares? The gamekeepers have risibly suggested the vote was ‘undemocratic’ and think that setting up their own political party would be a good idea! It sounds excellent to us: there’s nothing like losing multiple deposits to help you understand just how unpopular you are. The so-called Countryside Alliance have threatened to go after Alison herself: baseless ad hominem attacks on ‘animal rights extremists’ are the norm for hunting lobbyists so that hardly comes as a surprise.

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Victory | Greens End Hare Slaughter

Some remarkably good news. The Scottish parliament has just voted to protect Mountain Hares. This is a huge blow to the intensive grouse industry which has been massacring hares in huge numbers to ‘protect’ the artificially high numbers of Red Grouse they farm for the gun. Like birds of prey, stoats, weasels, corvids and whatever else the ‘industry’ decide should be eradicated, Mountain Hares have been relentlessly targeted much to the gloating amusement of the estate’s gamekeepers who have been caught parading vehicles rammed to the gills with dead hares far too often – which undoubtedly has helped cause the public to vote in favour of their victims and against them.

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