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First UK hares test positive for RHDV2
Brown hares have suffered a national decline of more than 80 per cent in the past century.

Scientists explore recent hare die-off 

Dead hares in Essex and Dorset have tested positive for rabbit haemorrhage disease virus type 2 (RHDV2). Scientists say it is the first time the disease variant has been found in UK hares.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) joined forces with local wildlife trusts, Defra and the APHA to determine the cause of hare deaths after members of the public began reporting sick and dead hares.

Lead author Dr Diana Bell said: “RHDV2 normally affects rabbits, but the disease is known to have jumped to European brown hares in Italy, Spain, France and Australia…

“RHDV2 is one of several pathogens we are finding in dead hares and it is too early to say which is currently the primary cause of the hare die-off. We are continuing to investigate other causes for the deaths.”

Last year members of the public were urged to photograph sick and dying hares, as well as collecting the bodies for autopsy.

Brown hares have suffered a national decline of more than 80 per cent in the past century, due to changes in agricultural practices. However, ongoing reports of dead and dying hares in the countryside has prompted fears that disease could also be contributing to the declines.

The team are continuing to collect dead hares for post mortem. If you find a freshly dead hare report it to Dr Bell by email:

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Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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RCVS Fellowship board chair elections get underway

Voting for the 2019 RCVS Fellowship Chair election is now underway. This year four candidates are standing for election, including Dr Robert Huey, Professor John Innes, Professor Liz Mossop and Professor Ian Ramsey.

The Chair will attend and preside over Fellowship meetings and take the lead in consolidating the Fellowship’s position as the learned society of the RCVS. Fellows will receive an email containing a link to the online voting form, as well as candidates’ details and manifestos. Voting closes at 5pm on Thursday, 5 September.