The English mountain hares could be at risk of extinction due to climate change. That’s according to a study by a naturalist at Manchester Metropolitan University. His name is Carlos Bedson and he has been studying these animals for five years. He estimates that only 2,500 remain in the Derbyshire Peak District. He explains that these are arctic species and as the climate warms at higher altitudes, hares must move to higher elevations. He fears that their numbers will continue to decline and that in three decades they will no longer exist.
The reason for this is their inability to adapt to high temperatures.
Sky News reports that their fur changes color to protect them from predators. The color is white in winter to blend in with the surrounding snow, and brown in summer to blend in with the foliage. Almost 6,000 years ago, these animals became extinct in England and Wales. Later, in the 1870s, attempts were made to reintroduce them. This was only achieved in the Peak District. The situation is better in Scotland, where the numbers are greater. The unlicensed killing of brown hares is considered a criminal offence.
Mountain hares’ main food source affected by climate change
The Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) official is advising the authorities to extend protection to the remaining species in England.
It explains a threat these animals face: hunting. In addition, many of them die in road accidents when they enter human habitats in the Peak District. However, climate change remains a problem. This is because heather is their main food source and the warmer climate is affecting the heather. This creates a situation where mountain hares must compete with other hares for food.
Incidentally, climate change also poses a threat to Scotland’s mountain hares.
The mountain hares have to fight climate change
Nida Al-Fulaij, who works at the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, said: The climate threat is really frightening because there is not much we can do about it. In 2018, there was a heat wave and wildfires destroyed wetlands.
This has led to the loss of habitat for a wide range of wildlife, including these hares. Environmentalists are trying to repair the damage. They have carried out various planting operations for different types of plants. The intention is to revegetate the wetlands. Mountain hares can thrive in difficult conditions. In February 2018, the media reported that polar bears in the Arctic are starving due to climate change.
Conservation group blames climate change for plight of mountain hares
According to the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), this is a conservation group that funds research into the decline of the common hare in England. Experts attribute this phenomenon to global warming. Nida Al-Fulaij of PTES said: These rabbits may have problems. This species became extinct during the last ice age.
However, they returned in the late 1800s and the animals survived in the Peak District. The nature of the climate was tolerable to them, and the cold climate proved to be an ideal habitat for them. However, volatile weather conditions and climate change increase the risk to their survival. In winter, they lose their camouflage due to reduced snow cover. This increases the danger to which they are exposed. Due to climate change, polar bears have starved and invaded the Russian colony in search of food. The world needs to understand the dangers of global warming and prevent the formation of greenhouse gases. One way to do this is to avoid fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy sources.
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