Hares today may be gone tomorrow.
TWO nature reserves have been given more than pounds 10,000 to help secure the future of the brown hare in the British Isles.
Brandon Marsh, near Coventry and Draycote Meadows, near Rugby, have been selected to join seven other sites across the country to lead the way in the project.
The brown hare, or lepus europaeus, has declined in numbers since the 1960s and is now classified as a vulnerable species.
The hares thrive in grassland and require quiet, undisturbed areas for cover and raising their young.
The Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and Warwickshire Environmental Trust are working with Biffa Waste Services, the Game Conservancy Trust, the Mammal Society and Middlemarch Environmental to double the population by 2010.
The project was launched in March after a pounds 39,690 grant from Biffaward. Now a further pounds 11,293 has been awarded to the two Warwickshire sites and it is hoped that the three-year project will include other counties.
The national project has seen the recruitment of a brown hare officer, Bernie Higgins, who is based in Coventry.
He said: "Loss of suitable habitat has been one of the key causes of decline in brown hare numbers throughout the UK. This project aims to develop habitat management plans for each study site, promote awareness of brown hare ecology and good land practice that will benefit the brown hare and enable the delivery of the target of doubling the population by 2010."
ENDANGERED: The brown hare has declined in numbers since the 60s