Hares: Conservation

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered am ar 4 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Helic Baroness Helic Ceidwadwyr

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Benyon on 12 July 2023 (HL9069), which stated that “Introducing a close season for brown hares remains an option”, what indicators they are using to assess the necessity of this option, and how frequently they review it.

Photo of Lord Benyon Lord Benyon The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The proposal to introduce a close season for the brown hare, referred to in HL9069, was set out in the Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare. In terms of the necessity of a close season from a wildlife conservation perspective, the brown hare is one of the indicator species for our legally binding targets in England to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030 and then reverse declines by 2042. We know that in order to meet these targets we will need large-scale habitat creation and restoration and improved connectivity but this will be supplemented where appropriate by intelligence on individual species. While there are no immediate plans to undertake a national mammal population review as was conducted in 2018, we should get an idea of trends in our brown hare population from published surveys, for example from the British Trust for Ornithology’s mammal recording, which it has been conducting since 1995 with a view to helping improve our knowledge of the distribution and population trends of some of our commoner mammals.

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