‘Rare’ hares have been spotted inside Woburn Forest.
In the past 100 years, the number of hares in the UK has fallen by 80 per cent.
But in the past few weeks, Center Parcs visitors have caught a glimpse of hares roaming in the forest - which was captured on camera by the ranger team.
A spokesman for Center Parcs said: “Nationally, brown hare numbers have declined considerably in the UK since the early 1960s and the decline of suitable habitat is thought to be a factor.
“This means that Center Parcs could be contributing to the resurgence of this species giving them the space and freedom to roam.
“In March, hares can be seen in courtship rituals such as boxing behaviour which is an interesting sight to witness. “The best time to see these creatures is in the early morning or late evening as they are shy, elusive animals.”
Hares have been regularly spotted early in the morning on the grass bank behind Village Square at Woburn Forest, if they are not disturbed the hares are usually grazing on the grasses.
The Nature Area in the south of the Village is another popular area for the hares, but the thick woodland areas are the places where they retreat to during the day, where they will great a depression in the ground, called a ‘form’. Lucie Vicentijevic, Senior Conservation Ranger said: “Whilst families on short breaks are unlikely to see the hares boxing here as it is a rare sight, it’s great that the hares have decided to spend some time with us and are enjoying the environment we’ve worked so hard to protect and enhance. Hares have had a tough time in the UK and it’s great to see some recovery in their numbers.”
With the breeding season underway, now is the right time to look out for them.
The milder winter has also meant that vegetation in the forest has continued to grow well which means there is plenty of food to go round.