Wednesday, March 7, 2012

European Brown Hare

Estonia Post issued one stamp  feature European Brown Hare species on May 19, 2011.  In Estonia, European Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus ) is a species that settled in the area from the south about 200-300 years ago when a part of their forest habitats had been replaced by fields. 

The European hare (Lepus europaeus),  is a species of hare native to northern, central, and western Europe and western Asia.The European hare has a head and body length ranging from 600-750 mm with a tail length of 72–110 mm.

The European hare is the biggest species of the genus Lepus, weighing from four to five  kilograms and bearing one to six (seven) well-developed offspring, whom it suckles for about one month. It is a mammal adapted to temperate, open country. It is related to the similarly appearing rabbit, which is in the same family but a different genus. It breeds on the ground rather than in a burrow and relies on speed to escape.


Hares primarily live in open fields and pasture usually near agricultural areas and bordered by hedgerows and woodlots. They prefer to live in shallow forms like clumps of grass, weeds or brush.
The number of those  animals has dropped throughout Europe during the past half-century. The reasons are varied,  numerous carnivores, birds of prey, extensive agriculture . As late as in the 1960s more than 10,000 European hares were hunted and more than 100,000 of them were counted in Estonia.


At the beginning of the 21st century hardly 1,000 animals a year are shot. No counts are being carried out at present, but the number of European brown hares is assessed at slightly above 20,000.

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