#FactFriday its the time of the week where we introduce a new (slightly winter themed!) animal; the moutain hare (Lepus timidus)
Unlike the brown hare and European rabbit, the mountain hare is native to the UK. They are found in moorland in the Highlands of Scotland, Southern uplands, Peak District and some Scottish Islands. They are classified as near threatened in the UK.
Like several other species in the Highlands, mountain hares have a brown/grey summer coat which turns white in winter dependent on the temperature.
In Ireland, there is a genetically distinct subspecies of mountain hare, Lepus timidus hibernicus.
Mountain hares look similar to brown hares. One way of telling them apart is their ears. Brown hares have long ears whereas mountain hares have shorter ones. Additionally a brown hares fur is… well… brown while a mountain hare has more grey fur (and white in winter).
Our last talk of the semester is from RZSS’s Dr Alex Ball who runs their WildGenes Programme. Learn about how their Edinburgh zoo-based genetics lab is saving endangered animals both here in Scotland and around the globe!
“At RZSS WildGenes we conduct cutting-edge conservation genetic and genomic research on a large range of threatened taxa. Our laboratory facilities are based at Edinburgh Zoo and our projects centre on in-situ monitoring, ex-situ management, reintroduction management and control of the illegal wildlife trade.
We work alongside government agencies, conservation charities and zoos across the world to deliver data, advice, training and capacity building. We are pioneering the use of genomic techniques such as ddRAD to generate high resolution data for conservation and we specialise in the analysis of non-invasive, and difficult to work with sample types.We work on any species or in any geographical locality where we feel there is a conservation need for genetic data.”
Ian Redmond OBE, Born Free’s Senior Wildlife Consultant will be giving a talk for the Born Free foundation about his experience as a reluctant volunteer!
“Ian is a tropical field biologist and conservationist, renowned for his work with great apes and elephants; he has been a wildlife consultant with Born Free since1986. Having authored books, articles, reports and scientific papers Ian is currently part of a team developing virtual reality as a tool for conservation education”
Delve into the past 40 years of Ian’s international career and the species and individuals he has encountered along the way.
He has done some very amazing things in his career that I think you are definitely going to want to come along to hear!
Hello to all of our lovely members! Since we can’t meet each other inside, how about we meet each other outside!
If you fill out this form, we will compile a list of ZooSoc members living near you and give you their email addresses. Then you are free to choose who you want to contact and meet up with! You can contact multiple people but not meet more than one other household at a time, following current guidelines in Glasgow. Your meetups can be as frequent as you want, or as long as you want – it’s up to you! We encourage taking a walk/ride to a green space near you and getting to know your buddy, maybe picking some litter (we are figuring out a way to provide gloves/bin bags) or having some lunch at the same time.
It’s #factfriday and this week we are catching a glimpse at the elusive Scottish wildcat (Felis silvestris)!
Due to hunting and more recently, hybridisation with domestic cats, this highly endangered species has estimates of 35 true wildcat individuals left.
They are extremely rare to spot in the wild and are now only found in the Scottish Highlands, living and hunting in dense woodland. They are most active at dawn and dusk.
The wildcat is stockier and more muscular than the domestic tabby. It has longer legs and a larger, flatter head with ears that stick out to the side. Spots, broken stripes or white fur are all indications of hybridisation with domestic cats.
Some mammal experts believe that the Scottish wildcat should be regarded as its own subspecies, Felis silvestris grampia. They argue that Britain’s wildcats are larger when compared to their European relatives. Other scientists disagree, however, and write off the Scottish wildcat as nothing more than an isolated population of European wildcats.
Ben Harris from Froglife will be leading this talk as part of the Discovering Reptiles Project. Froglife are a national wildlife charity committed to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles and this project aims to improve participant’s knowledge of reptiles and their national recording throughout the UK. Ben has a number of years’ experience running reptile surveys and ecology talks whilst working as a ranger and project officer.The talk will cover common and widespread UK reptiles with an overview of their identification, and where and how to look for them. It will be suitable for all audiences, and will especially appeal to anyone interested in wildlife and conservation. This course particularly suits those who:
• Wish to improve their identification skills of UK reptiles • Is looking to gain knowledge on how to survey for reptiles – whether in their own garden or a public green space • Looking for experience in the environmental sector • Wish to learn about the importance of recording our reptile species and how doing so can make a real differenceJoin Zoom Meeting