THE HUMBLE and historic Irish hare is facing a fight for survival against a speedy-operating and devastatingly deadly illness that is threatening the future of the species as we know it.
Rabbit Haemorrhagic Illness Virus two or RHD2 can be transmitted by way of fluids like saliva and urine as properly as indirectly by way of other animals, insects and even garments.
Most alarming of all, this deadly infection can be spread by one thing as innocuous as a easy gust of wind.
Even though the symptoms about the infection are variable and some can survive RHD2, it a lot of situations it can prove swiftly fatal.
Irish hares boast a distinctive and totally exceptional set of genetic characters that sets them apart from other species about the globe.
They also share a exceptional bond with the island of Ireland, with preceding carbon dating into cave fossils displaying they have existed on the Emerald Isle for far more than 30,000 years and may possibly have even been present through the final Ice Age.
Confirmed situations of the RHD2 virus have currently been confirmed across six Irish counties with far more potentially following.
Speaking to RTE’s Morning Ireland, the National Parks and Wildlife Service’s head of Animal Ecology Dr Ferdia Marnell stated it is unclear as to how the illness came to be in Ireland.
“Already we have confirmations in Cork, Clare, Leitrim, Offaly, Wicklow and Wexford,” Dr. Marnell stated.
“It’s a haemorrhagic illness, which indicates the animals die from internal bleeding and it is not really pleasant to appear at.
“It’s a virus and it only emerged fairly not too long ago in France exactly where it turned up in pet rabbits a handful of years ago and now, of most concern to us, it is spread to rabbits and especially the wild hare which is exceptional to Ireland.”
Regardless of the alarming threat RHD2 poses to the Irish hare population, Dr Marnell was keen to tension the infection poses no danger to humans or other animals.
He has nonetheless urged the Irish public to keep vigilant of any noticeable situations of mass deaths amongst rabbits and hares.