MOUNTAIN HARES - A WARMING WORLD
2017 was my first year working Scotland's only true arctic mammal the Mountain Hare.
I''ve visited Scotland dutring the Winter for a good few years and his past winter has been the warmest I can remember in the Scottish mountains. With very little snow, even high up on the hills due to warming temperatures the white hares are easy to spot. Their white pelage has evolved over millennia to blend seamlessly with their wintry habitats but now the warming temperatures are leaving the hares exposed, increasingly vulnerable to predation and absent of the camouflage that has served them so well. Where once the hares whites coat provided their greatest asset it is now potentially their greatest threat. Much the same as other species facing these challenges it will be those that can adapt the fastest that have the best chance of surviving long term.Those perhaps that don’t naturally go this white, instead more grey or brown, will be the ones to survive, to endure and then to pass their naturally occurring genetic advantage onto their offspring, the next generation. This is always how adaptation, how evolution has occurred. The question though is time and can this happen quickly enough? Can they adapt to survive, especially given the multiple threats that they face on a daily basis.