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Brown Hare Disease Update

Back in November 2018, SACS shared a call to action from Gamekeeper Jonathan Davis, who has been assisting Dr Diana Bell of the University of East Anglia with determining the cause of unexplained brown hare deaths across the UK. You can read the original news article here.

Brown Hare Disease Update

Today, it has been confirmed that RHDV2 (rabbit haemorrhagic disease type 2) has jumped to brown hares. In a press release, Dr Bell stated: “RHDV2 normally affects rabbits, but the disease is known to have jumped to European brown hares in Italy, Spain, France and Australia. This is the first time that RHDV2 has been found in hares in the UK. RHDV2 is one of several pathogens we are finding in dead hares and it is too early to say which is currently the primary cause of the hare die-off. We are continuing to investigate other causes for the deaths.”

Dead hares are still being collected for analysis, so we ask the fieldsports community to continue their vital assistance with this research by contacting Dr Bell at d.bell@uea.ac.uk or Jonathan Davis on 07872 149147 if they find a freshly dead hare. Thank you to everyone who has helped so far, and to Jonathan for his extensive work on this important conservation issue.