Citizen Scientists Wanted: Have you Seen an Arctic Hare?

Arctic Hare
Credit: Darroch Whitaker | Parks Canada

Little is known about arctic hare populations in Newfoundland. In 2012, the Species Status Advisory assessed arctic hare and determined their analysis was “data deficient”. Since 2012, little has been accomplished to improve our understanding of arctic hare populations in Newfoundland. The Qalipu Natural Resources division is working to improve our understanding of arctic hare, and you can help!

If you spot an arctic hare while travelling through arctic-alpine or exposed barren areas, please complete our sighting report form to let us know about it. The information you provide is considered “citizen science data”. This important data is used to compliment long-term research and provides for additional surveillance of artic hare populations on the island of Newfoundland. You can find our sighting report form here.

Identifying Characteristics

The arctic hare is the largest of the North American hares weighing between 3.5 – 6.0 kilograms when fully grown. Their winter coat is pure white with the exception of black tips on their long ears. In our province, which is the southernmost limit of the hares’ North American distribution, the hares’ habitat is primarily barren within the vicinity of boulder fields.  Subsequently, their summer coat is typically bluish gray with white underparts.

Where you Might Spot an Arctic Hare

On the island of Newfoundland, the population is restricted to arctic-alpine areas of the Long Range Mountains, interior western plateaus or exposed coastal barrens including areas in Gros Morne National Park, the Long Range and Annieopsquotch Mountains, and the Buchans – Topsail plateau. Unfortunately there has been no island-wide distribution surveys since 1981, so the extent of the core population of the arctic hare outside the Long Range Mountains and Buchans – Topsail plateau remains largely unknown. (Hearn, 2012)

For more information on the arctic hare click here.

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