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High hopes for rescued young hare

The hare has been taken into care at New Arc
The hare has been taken into care at New Arc

A baby hare which was attacked by a dog just days after being born is being nursed back to health at an Aberdeenshire animal sanctuary.

The leveret, the term for a hare younger than one year old, was taken in by the New Arc charity after the incident near Strathdon.

Staff at the centre, which is located near Ellon, believe the male animal is about three days old after measuring its weight and height.

Charity founders, Keith and Pauline Marley, run the operation to rehabilitate animals so that they can eventually return to their natural habitat.

They hope that can be achieved for the leveret, which has been placed in an incubator in an effort to boost its health.

Mr Marley explained that the hare is the youngest New Arc has ever cared for.

He said: “The hare weighs about 150 grams – so it is probably only a few days old.

“It is taking food today and is eating reasonably well at the moment.

“But we have got a long way to go, seemingly it was grabbed by a dog so has suffered a certain amount of trauma which can hopefully be overcome.”

Mr Marley added that baby hares tend to stand a chance of survival as low as 10% if kept in captivity.

“These animals are difficult and very challenging for any centre”, he said.

“We’ve got to give the hare as much warmth and comfort as we can, but when it starts to wean we have to take a hands-off approach to make sure it can look after itself and learn to survive.

“At the moment we are feeding it a special milk formula then we will branch into other foods when it is ready.”

Hares are nocturnal and after their first days alive they tend to spend most of their time alone, although their mother will return to nurse them at night until they have tripled in size.

Babies are born in depressions the females make in the ground.

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