Scotland's mountain hare population has been dramatically reduced over the past half century, with records showing that just 1% of the number that was recorded in 1954 now remains. While there are a number of factors at play, given that this is based on a long-term study spanning over 60 years, the predominant cause appears to be an increase in culling, which has taken place over the past two decades.
The RSPB has stepped in with urgent measures that must be taken in order to protect the mountain hare from extinction: "We consider that large-scale population reduction culls are both illegal under EU law and unwarranted as a method for controlling grouse disease."
While statistical data regarding the environment tends to be depressing and render us feeling powerless, we do have the power to do our bit in the small corner of the world that we call home. Certain wildlife in the UK is also suffering, largely as a result of intensive farming practices and housing development.
However, there are ways that you can transform your garden into a haven for wildlife and by doing this, not only are you increasing the odds for animals that may not survive without your help, but you're also likely to have beautiful wildlife visit you in your own back garden.
Feed the birds
This is important to do all year round, as we've seen this year, summer can be just as extreme as winter. Having a bird table is something that provides regular visual enjoyment; with any number of species likely to be attracted to a reliable food supply and with the fact that birds are often happy to come quite close to windows to feed.
This is probably the single most vital element that can help support all wildlife in different ways. If you make a small pond area then frogs and newts will benefit from this natural habitat, but also putting out bowls of water will benefit small mammals, such as rabbits and hedgehogs.
You can create ready-made habitats all over your garden, so as provide species with the creature comforts they require for survival. The best examples of this is to put up bird boxes, leave piles of rocks or logs in quiet areas or leave upturned flower pots filled with leaves and dried grass as a potential home for bees.
Allowing your garden to grow naturally in places and not being a perfectionist with pruning and trimming will also make it more attractive to wildlife. Learn about what shrubs and flowers attract what species and sow wildflower seed in overgrown areas of the garden.