Navigation Links
Irish hares fall foul of modern farming trap
Date:6/29/2010

Research from Queen's University Belfast has revealed the 20th century decline in the Irish hare population is almost certainly associated with changes in farming practices.

The Stormont Assembly voted to ban hare coursing in Northern Ireland last Tuesday (22nd June), but a recent study, funded by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and published in the international journal Biological Conservation, suggests hares may join the ranks of other farmland species, such as the Corncrake, unless more is done to protect its habitat.

The research team, led by Dr Neil Reid, Quercus Centre Manager in Queen's School of Biological Sciences, has shown that hares require an intricate patchwork quilt of good quality grassland for feeding, and tall uneven vegetation, such as rushes, for hiding and sleeping.

Dr Reid explained: "Hares may mistake the tall grass of silage fields as a good spot for lying-up and giving birth. Silage is harvested during the peak period when leverets are born in late spring and early summer and the machinery used may trap and kill young hares, driving local population declines year after year. Hares have fallen foul of an ecological trap."

The researchers tagged a population of hares in South Armagh with radio-transmitters, allowing them to track their every move. They followed the animals day and night for an entire year to see how they changed their habitat preferences. The researchers found that during late spring and early summer they increased their use of long grass destined to be cut for silage.

Dr Reid said: "On a day-to-day basis, hares are remarkably boring creatures to follow. They don't move far and during the daytime they do very little. This is rather worrying, however, if they settle in unsuitable habitat that may present life threatening risks at a certain time of year. We may have forty shades of green in Ireland but we have created what amounts to a desert of grass. Variety is the spice of life. Wildlife can't survive in a pristinely manicured landscape of only one habitat."

Dr Reid added: "Fields are frequently mowed from the edge to the centre for convenience but it surely can't be that difficult to do it the other way around? Adopting 'hare-friendly' mowing regimes, similar to those adopted to minimise the impact of harvesting on ground nesting birds, may help mitigate the effects. Unfortunately, leverets tend not to run so it may not work, but it's worth testing."

The new Northern Ireland Countryside Management Schemes (NICMS), implemented by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), now includes a specific measure to target the Irish hare called the 'delayed cutting and grazing' option. Farmers who sign up will receive hectarage payments for postponing the cutting of silage until after the 1st July and for maintaining rushy field margins.


'/>"/>

Contact: Donna McCullough
44-289-097-5391
Queen's University Belfast
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scots and Irish at greater risk of drink-related death, study shows
2. Genome of Irish potato famine pathogen decoded
3. Gene-targeting pioneer Mario Capecchi shares 2007 Nobel Prize in Medicine
4. Eat chocolate, drink wine, add fun to life: SLU geriatrician shares secrets of staying young
5. University of Arizona scientist shares in discovery of microbe filaments power
6. Plant microbe shares features with drug-resistant pathogen
7. New study finds catch shares improve consistency, not health, of fisheries
8. More than 1: Long-reigning microbe controlling ocean nitrogen shares the throne
9. Study shows compulsive eating shares addictive biochemical mechanism with cocaine, heroin abuse
10. Winner Medical Group inc. Prices Offering of 1,380,000 Shares of Common Stock
11. Southwest Bancorp, Inc. Announces Pricing of $50 Million Underwritten Public Offering of Common Shares
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period 2017-2021. ... been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from ... prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... -- Today HYPR Corp. , leading innovator in ... the HYPR platform is officially FIDO® Certified . ... that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune 500 enterprises and ... 15 million users across the financial services industry, however ... suites and physical access represent a growing portion of ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... KONG , March 30, 2017 The ... a system for three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking ... into a new realm of speed and accuracy for use in ... at an affordable cost. ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The Blavatnik Family Foundation and ... Finalists of the 2017 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists. Established in ... by the New York Academy of Sciences to honor the excellence of outstanding ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... October ... ... (https://www.onramp.bio/ ) has launched Rosalind™, the first-ever genomics analysis platform specifically designed ... bioinformatics complexity. Named in honor of pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... today it will be hosting a Webinar titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is ... , on digital pathology adoption best practices and how Proscia improves lab economics ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Singh ... orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal Transducer and Activator of ... SBT-100 is able to cross the cell membrane and bind intracellular STAT3 and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: