This year we are back to running our popular hare events on Havergate Island. The hare numbers on the island are always up and down depending on certain factors such as predation, disease and generally whether we have had a harsh winter and/or had a successful breeding year. We have been seeing good numbers all around the island recently and so would like to share them with you.

Hares have been present on the island for as long as we can remember – certainly since before the RSPB took it on in 1949. They were most probably introduced along with rabbits as a food source when the island was managed by marsh keepers who lived out there permanently with their families. Rabbits are no longer present on the island, but the hares have always continued to survive out there with no intervention from us. We have always had our suspicions that the odd hare swims on or off the island which helps to keep the gene pool mixed and the hares healthy. After asking some questions to the local boatman we can confirm that one or two of them have in fact seen the hares swimming – however, we are not 100% sure as we have never seen it ourselves.

Back before 2013 the hare numbers on Havergate stayed at a healthy population of around 30 individuals, however, the tidal surge in Dec 2013 had a devastating effect on them knocking the numbers down to about 4 or 5. Since then, numbers have varied greatly, and they have very slowly and steadily been increasing. We don’t believe we are up to the numbers we had before the surge, but we estimate we have around 15 + out there. There is a lot of vegetation and cover for them to hide up in and so they can be tricky to see, however, we know their favourite spots and so we are usually lucky enough to see a few at any one time. It’s worth bearing in mind that they are still wild animals and so we can never guarantee that we will see any.

We are running our Hare Events on 21st and 29th March and 18th and 26th April. The guided walks are led by our volunteer guides who know all the hare ‘hot spots’ and can share with you all the facts on Hares they have amassed over the years. For more information and to book please take a look at our website https://bit.ly/2QtmKtS

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