Heed advice to leave hares be

Leaving your children and only seeing them for meal time at dawn and dusk may not be great parenting for humans, but for Alberta’s hares, it’s the norm. And one wildlife centre is asking Calgary residents to heed their advice about hares: leave them be.

The Calgary Herald has reported that last weekend the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (CWRS) had 15 hares dropped off – and more came in as the week progressed.

“The message is that these little babies, often found in people’s yards, need to be left alone,” Andrea Hunt, executive director at CWRS, told the Herald. “If you don’t see visible injuries, the hare is pretty much OK.”

As a defense mechanism, new born hares have virtually no scent, and a reflex to become very still if afraid – meaning the presence of momma hare would increase the chances of a predator locating them. But many well-meaning individuals see these young hares and presume they’ve been orphaned, taking them to a rehabilitation facility.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t often end well due to the high stress hares experience when taken from their wild environments.

“Last year, of the more than 200 hares brought in over the summer [to CWRS], only 20 per cent survived and were successfully released back into the wild,” the Herald noted.

As with most cases where you see wildlife that may be in distress, it’s best to contact local animal control or a nearby wildlife rehabilitator to establish what procedure is most applicable.

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