Grouse shooting benefits mountain hares.
The report was commissioned to establish whether counts of mountain hare droppings could be used to develop a reliable method for estimating the animal?s population density.
The report states: ?Hares are strongly associated with the heather moorland that is managed for red grouse ? where they likely benefit from habitat management and predator control aimed at improving grouse densities.?
SNH says that counting droppings has worked to estimate numbers of the closely-related North American snowshoe hare, but admits that ?unfortunately the results [in this case] do not provide us with the outcome we had envisaged.?
The report concludes that further work is needed: ?In order to better inform our understanding of the conservation status of mountain hares, a reliable, cost-effective and straightforward method of counting hares is required.?