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The charity said the principle reason for culling is the control of the louping-ill virus transmitted by ticks, which can infect red grouse. Although mountain hare carry ticks, it said there is no evidence that controlling their numbers will support red grouse management.
While it estimates that this reason accounts for 50% of hares culled, a further 40% are shot for sport.
Found grazing on sub-alpine scrub and grouse moors, the mountain hare is integral to the uplands ecosystem. While studies on their numbers are scarce, the report points to a 34% overall decline in the species between 2009 and 2014.
The Scottish government said: "We have been very clear that we will not tolerate large-scale culls of mountain hares, but we recognise that numbers need to be controlled in some specific circumstances.”
It is launching an examination into the sustainability of grouse moor management, and mountain hare culling will be one area of focus.
Header image courtesy of Andrew Parkinson.
Centre image courtesy of Peter Walkden, showing a vehicle filled with dead hares.