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Look harder if you want to spot camouflaged mammal

SEI York’s researcher Rachel Pateman, in partnership with Moors for the Future, conducts a study tracking the population of the mountain hare.

Published on 6 February 2019

The Moors of the Future Partnership conducts research and restoration of moorlands in the Peak District National Park and South Pennies region, England, UK.

Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York carried out a study that tracked and mapped the dwindling population of the native mountain hare.

By encouraging citizens to report sightings via the internet and special smartphone apps the study produced a distribution map indicating where the largest populations of the hare are located.

The hares change their fur from brown to white in sync with snowfall. The study found that the change to white coats appeared to start in October and November, then peak in January and February before the moult to brown fur synchronised with the melting of snow in late winter and spring.

The report also warns that if snow fall decreases the mountain hares may become increasingly vulnerable to predation if they continue to change their coat colour to white while there is no snow.


Rachel Pateman


SEI York

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