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Intensive farming methods bad news for hare population

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

LEEUWARDEN – Two Dutch nature protection groups and the central bureau of statistics have concluded that the country’s hare or jackrabbit population has declined by thirty percent during the past decade. The jackrabbit (in Dutch haas) faces a test of survival, particularly in areas focused on agriculture. Larger farms and intensive methods have led to a declining variety in the hare’s food choices and to a higher risk of attracting faster and more severe disease. The groups studied the hare’s habitat and survivability over the past ten years. Pressure on the four-legged vegetarian also comes from an increasing number of vacationers who use nature trails and bicycle paths, disturbing its habitat. Although the situation varies from place to place, hunters also report fewer of the swift creatures who are able to drastically change directions at full speed. The hare can be found in all parts of the country, including the northern islands. It thrives best in places with mixed farming and lush gardens.