Hares in Britain have been dying mysteriously, and scientists believe it’s due to the return of a deadly virus. Doctors have been able to confirm to cases of rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus type 2 (RHDV2). One case was in Dorset, and the other was in Essex. Due to the distance of the cities, doctors believe that is in the process of spreading all across the nation.
If the deadly virus continues to spread, it can cause significant danger for all hares in Britain.
Dr. Diana Bell said that her team was one of the first in the UK to confirm a case of RHDV2. Bell is a biologist at the University of East Anglia.
Within the past century, the number of brown hare in the country has dropped below 80 percent. The number of mountain hare is below 99 percent in certain areas.
A lot of the deaths of these creatures was blamed on farming. However, gamekeepers on grouse moors are the reason for the shortage of brown hares.
Settlers were the ones to introduce Britain to brown hare during the Iron Age. The number of brown hares continues to decline due to a mysterious illness among the animals. The cause of death for other hares in the country was from another deadly rabbit virus, myxomatosis.
Deadly Virus Killing Off Hares In Britain
In her findings published in Vet Record, Dr. Bell says that she and her team were able to find many pathogens in dead hares in the area including RHDV2. She says that as of now, it is too early to tell which pathogen is causing the hares to die.
Dr. Bell goes on to thank the number of responses from the public alerting her and her team of the sick or dead animals.
She wants people to continue to report any sighting of the animals so that her team can come to a conclusion over the deaths.