- Quercus first to GPS tag lagomorphs Animal rescue centres release large numbers of captive-bred, rehabilitated or translocated a... [more]
- Quercus wins "National Frog Survey of Ireland" contract Quercus won the National Frog Survey of Ireland 2010/11 contract under competitive tender... [more]
4th March 2010 - Quercus first to GPS tag lagomorphs
4th March 2010 - Professor Jeremy Jackson lecture available on Youtube
1st March 2010 - Quercus wins National Frog Survey contract
24th February 2010 - Hares more numerous in Irish Coursing Club preserves than wider countryside
Animal rescue centres release large numbers of captive-bred, rehabilitated or translocated animals into the wild annually but little is known about their post-release survival and behaviour.
Quercus developed a novel and innovative coupling of traditional radio-tags with new GPS loggers to track hand-reared Irish hare Lepus timidus hibernicus leverets after release into the wild.
This is the first study to publish data from any GPS tagged lagomorph and provides ‘proof-of-concept’ that large quantities of behavioural data can be recovered from small mammals 1-2 kg.
Click here to read more or download the paper published by the open access peer-reviewed journal Conservation Evidence here:
Quercus won the National Frog Survey of Ireland 2010/11 contract under competitive tender from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in the Republic of Ireland.
In September 2009, Professor Jeremy Jackson from the prestigious Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California delivered his “Brave New Ocean” lecture funded by the Ulster Wildlife Trust and hosted by Quercus.
Watch the lecture and Q&A session via [Click here].
"The situation is especially severe throughout Europe, and Northern Ireland is no exception. Rapid establishment of large marine protected areas and much stronger regulations on fishing and pollution are essential to avoid further losses and to re-establish fish stocks at sustainable levels." Professor Jackson warned.
There are approximately 76 local coursing clubs distributed throughout Ireland and each is associated with a number of discrete localities, known colloquially as ‘hare preserves’, which are managed favourably for hares including predator control, prohibition of other forms of hunting such as shooting and poaching and the maintenance and enhancement of suitable hare habitat.
Anti-field sports organisations, in addition to animal welfare objections, dispute the efficacy of ICC hare population management practices claiming that annual harvesting of hares causes local population declines and expiration.
The research team, lead by Dr. Neil Reid, Quercus Centre Manager, indirectly tested the efficacy of management practices by comparing hare numbers within preserves to that in the wider countryside.
“Whilst we cannot rule out the role of habitat, our results suggest that hare numbers are maintained at high levels in ICC preserves either because clubs select areas of high hare density and subsequently have a negligible effect on numbers or that active population management positively increases hare abundance” said Dr. Reid.
The research, published in the peer-reviewed international journal Acta Theriologica, suggested that field sports such as shooting, hunting and hare coursing promote the multifunctional use of farmland in which wildlife provides a resource for non-agricultural activities supporting sustainable development. Moreover, field sports may offer financial and recreational incentives to farmers and private landowners who are frequently willing to accept conservation costs over a wider area than Government can afford to subsidize.
Co-author Prof. Ian Montgomery said “The Irish hare is one of the highest priority species in Ireland and its conservation is a fine balance between the management of suitable habitat within agricultural systems, population management by coursing clubs and associated animal welfare concerns. Without legal, well organised and regulated coursing much of the costs of conservation will fall exclusively on Government.”
This latest research follows on from a previous study published in the journal Animal Welfare during 2007, which showed that survival of hares at coursing events significantly improved with the introduction of compulsory muzzling of greyhounds in 1993 whilst improved levels of captive animal husbandry reduced mortality yet further. It is estimated that about 4% of the 6,000 or so hares netted by the ICC each year are killed with the rest being released back into the wild.