Hares could be lost forever

PUBLISHED: 10:56 31 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:56 31 March 2020

Wild hares face a lethal new virus (photo: Chris Strickland, Getty Images)

Wild hares face a lethal new virus (photo: Chris Strickland, Getty Images)

Chris Strickland (Chris Strickland (Photographer) - [None]

There are fears that our iconic hare could be wiped out by a lethal new disease

There are fears that our iconic hare could be wiped out by a lethal new disease. Researchers at the University of East Anglia have received over 1,000 separate reports in 18 months of dead or dying hares across the UK.

They have shown that one of the reasons for these deaths is a new calcivirus that has already severely affected rabbit and hare populations in Europe, and are now looking to find out more about the disease.

The virus – Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease 2 or RHDV2 – was first reported in domestic rabbits in England and France in 2010. It was subsequently found to have jumped to European hares in France in 2013 and other countries across Europe as well as Australia. Researchers have confirmed that this has now happened in the UK.

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The UEA research recently benefited from a £2,000 donation from Greater Anglia and its five Community Rail Partnerships – but more funding is needed to support the work.

The research is being led by Professor Diana Bell, a leading professor of conservation biology at the UEA.

Prof Bell said; “The next step is to find out more about RHDV2 through further research but we need funding urgently. We would be so grateful for further donations to help us continue to carry out this important work.”

Donations: justgiving.com/fundraising/hares-diana-bell-uea-research

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