White hare still a pest
Shooting rabbits and hares is a regular activity for the Conservation Department's pest control team - but this was not any ordinary hare.
When the rangers went out on one of their night hunts near the Ahuriri Conservation Park this week, one of them managed to shoot a european white hare. Biodiversity manager Dean Nelson said it was the first he had seen in the area for several years.
"I may have spotted one near Aoraki-Mt Cook National Park. They're quite a distinctive sort of hare," he said.
To protect biodiversity values the department regularly undertakes rabbit and hare control work over approximately 18,000 hectares of rabbit-prone public conservation land.
"The european hare is an unwanted pest regardless of colour," Mr Nelson said.
The european hare is believed to have been introduced to New Zealand by British settlers in the 1850s.
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