The Irish Hare Initiative recently gave a qualified welcome to Minister Edwin Poot’s decision to renew the annual Special Protection Order for Irish Hares. The conservation group, which met with the Environment Minister recently, has campaigned for permanent protection for the species. Spokesman for the group and HPT member, Mike Rendle, said the Minister showed a genuine interest in hares as well as an understanding of the core conservation issues.
“Our discussions centred on compelling evidence of Irish hare decline”, he said. “We are pleased that the Irish hare will be protected for another year”.
Temporary Special Protection Orders have been issued annually since 2003, but the group believes the Minister should take the next logical step. The Northern Ireland Assembly is about to consider new wildlife legislation which presents a historic opportunity to give this vulnerable species permanent protection.
“The Irish hare is a priority species and for it to remain on the quarry list to be hunted to extinction is inconsistent with any genuine conservation strategy”, said Mike. “Effective legislation will underpin wider conservation measures and permanent protection will go a long way to demonstrate that government is serious about our environment”.
“We urge the Minister to apply the precautionary principle and grant Irish hares permanent protection. There is no legitimate conservation case for opposing better protection for a vulnerable species”, he added.
The complete Bulletin 72 is available from Brown Hare Preservation Trust,
PO Box 70,
Crediton. EX17 4ZQ.
Photo courtesy of Mike Rendle.