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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: 'No compelling evidence' that culling mountain hares Lepus timidus increases red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus populations by reducing louping ill virus

Published source details

Harrison A., Newey S., Gilbert L. & Thirgood S. (2010) Culling wildlife hosts to control disease: mountain hares, red grouse and louping ill virus. Journal of Animal Ecology, 47, 926-930

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Exclude or control ‘reservoir species’ to reduce parasite burdens Bird Conservation

A 2010 literature review (Harrison et al. 2010) found ‘no compelling evidence’ that culling mountain hares Lepus timidus (a carrier of the ticks that carry louping ill virus) increased red grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus populations. The authors note that there is some evidence for an effect of culling on the prevalence of louping ill virus (e.g. in Laureson et al. 2003) but that evidence for population-level effects is uncertain, partly due to a lack of understanding of the population dynamics of both hares and grouse.