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Why are our hares dying?

PUBLISHED: 17:20 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:20 11 February 2020

The UEA are leading research into a virus that is thought to be killing hares. Picture: Frances Crickmore / iWitness24

The UEA are leading research into a virus that is thought to be killing hares. Picture: Frances Crickmore / iWitness24

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There are fears a deadly disease is wiping out our region’s hare population.

The UEA have recieved more than 1000 reports of dead hares. Picture: Frances Crickmore / iWitness24The UEA have recieved more than 1000 reports of dead hares. Picture: Frances Crickmore / iWitness24

Over 1,000 reports of often multiple dead hares across the country have been received by the University of East Anglia (UEA) since October 2018, which is now conducting a major study into the issue.

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The deaths have been in part attributed to a new calcivirus, which was first reported in domestic rabbits in England and France in 2010, by researchers at the UEA.

Professor Diana Bell, a leading professor of Conservation Biology at UEA, said: "We fear that many of the other 35 species of hare worldwide may also be susceptible to this new virus, presenting a significant threat to the global hare population.

"This would have major global impact both for hares and the many ecosystems in which they play an important role as grazers and prey species."

To donate to UEA research www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hares-diana-bell-uea-research

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