Environmental Management

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 19–30 | Cite as

Conservation Considerations for a Management Measure: An Integrated Approach to Hare Rearing and Release

  • Christos Sokos
  • Periklis Birtsas
  • Konstantinos G. Papaspyropoulos
  • Alexios Giannakopoulos
  • Labrini V. Athanasiou
  • Katerina Manolakou
  • Vassiliki Spyrou
  • Charalambos BillinisEmail author


Wildlife managers are challenged with the task of deciding whether a management measure is appropriate or not, and furthermore they have to convince others about the merits of their decision. Population decline of some hare species (genus Lepus) has resulted in their Red Listing and conservation measures are being undertaken. Release or restocking is a frequent measure in some countries, and thousands of hares are released annually, mainly for hunting purposes. These hares can be obtained by either intensive or extensive rearing or translocation of the wild animals. Each method entails difficulties and different survival rates in the wild. Survival rates in the wild are low for hares intensively reared in cages but are higher for hares reared extensively in enclosures and wild translocated hares. The benefits of the hare release practice are significantly lower than the action’s implementation cost. Hare releases have not increased significantly the wild hare population or the hunting harvest in areas where the practice has been applied. The risk of genetic and evolutionary degradation and pathogen transmission is possible in wild populations. The need for wise management of this practice is evident and the term ‘Permitted Transferring Units’ should be introduced to denote regions where hares should not be transferred for rearing and release.


Disease Genetics Lagomorph conservation Predation Restocking Wildlife legislation 



This study was partially funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Program (2007–2013) under Grant agreement no. 222633 (WildTech).


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christos Sokos
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Periklis Birtsas
    • 3
    • 4
  • Konstantinos G. Papaspyropoulos
    • 3
    • 5
  • Alexios Giannakopoulos
    • 1
  • Labrini V. Athanasiou
    • 6
  • Katerina Manolakou
    • 7
  • Vassiliki Spyrou
    • 8
  • Charalambos Billinis
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of ThessalyKarditsaGreece
  2. 2.Department of Biomedicine, Institute for Research and Technology of ThessalyCentre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH)LarissaGreece
  3. 3.Research DivisionHunting Federation of Macedonia and ThraceThessalonikiGreece
  4. 4.Wildlife Laboratory, Department of Forestry and Management of Natural EnvironmentTechnological Educational Institute of ThessalyKarditsaGreece
  5. 5.Laboratory of Forest Economics, Faculty of Forestry and Natural EnvironmentAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  6. 6.Department of Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of ThessalyKarditsaGreece
  7. 7.Department of Animal Husbandry and Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of ThessalyKarditsaGreece
  8. 8.Department of Animal ProductionTechnological Educational Institute of ThessalyLarissaGreece

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