brown hare survey

The current status of the brown hare falls into various categories, in that it is a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species, a pest species and a quarry species. The brown hare’s inclusion in BAP in the 1990s was not because the animal was rare or endangered, but because of its decline over many years there was a desire to increase numbers.

The brown hare is also covered by legislation that refers to UK mammals:

  • Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended)
  • Wild Mammal Protection Act 1996
  • Hunting Act 2004
  • Animal Welfare Act 2006

Hare surveys aren’t usually required for small scale developments, however for major road schemes and some pipeline projects hare surveys are often essential.

Our survey methods will investigate for field signs of Brown Hare by using the following survey techniques:

Forms – depressions in the ground used by Brown Hares for resting purposes during the day
Footprints – side by side impressions of hind feet and staggered oval prints of forefeet.
Trails – these can be evident across fields as Brown Hares often take the same routes from daytime forms to night time feeding areas
Coprophagy – ingested hard droppings from the afternoon are passed out at night whilst they are out feeding.

The new Environmental Stewardship scheme which has replaced the Countryside Stewardship scheme and Environmentally Sensitive Areas has various options that may directly or indirectly benefit brown hares.