A few lads out and about on the Lecht road a couple of weeks ago. I wonder what they were up to?
Take a closer look…
The back of that vehicle is full of a mountain of Mountain Hares. So the voluntary restraint seems to be working as well as we might have expected then? Right!
Mountain Hares (or Blue Hares) are bumped off on grouse moors because they are inconvenient species. No, they don’t eat Red Grouse (not often anyway) but they do carry ticks that carry a virus (Louping Ill Virus, LIV) that gives Red Grouse (and sheep) a disease (see Inglorious pp75-76 and p237).
This is what SNH says ‘On the basis of the available evidence, there is no compelling field evidence for undertaking large-scale mountain hare culls to control LIV in areas of Scotland where there are high densities of other tick-bearing mammals. Culls should therefore not be undertaken for this purpose in these circumstances.‘.
These guys must have been on a rescue mission then? Seems like it failed – but thanks for trying…
Quite a big failure wasn’t it? How many hares do you think it takes to fill the back of that car? No we don’t know that it is full of hares, maybe they are just the icing on the cake? How many? 50? 100? 200? More? Great restraint.
This activity takes place inside a National Park – that rather worthless designation in the UK which stops people building but allows the killing of wildlife for fun. The Cairngorm National Park website says that there is ‘nowhere else like the Cairngorms National Park’ which isn’t really true when wildlife is not protected any better inside the Park boundaries than outside them, is it? They are right to have the word ‘Breathtaking’ in large letters on there website because that is what the current state of affairs is. And they are right to say that the CNP is ‘home to some of Britain’s most loved but endangered species’ – tough love for Mountain Hares in this National Park.
In May 2014 the Convenor of the Cairngorms National Park Authority complained to the Environment Minister that continued raptor persecution in the area “threatens to undermine the reputation of the National Park as a high quality wildlife tourism destination”. He can add Mountain Hare culling to that list.
If you would like to comment on the future of the UK’s National Parks then click here.