Arctic hare makes epic polar journey

An Arctic hare made a remarkable journey across northern Canada, prompting biologists to reconsider how far they can travel. Fitted with a GPS tracking collar, the hare (Lepus arcticus) traveled over 388 kilometers in 49 days—a record for any lagomorph. Arctic hares have been known to travel much farther than their relatives, but the female BBYY set a new record.

“Unsuspected mobility of Arctic hares revealed by longest journey ever recorded in a lagomorph,” read the title of the study recently published in Ecology.

The discovery came as mammalian ecologist Dominque Berteaux of the Université du Québec à Rimouski wanted to know how Arctic hares move across the arid landscape on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada. She hoped her findings could inform conservation of the rugged ecosystem.

it’s exciting to find “something unsuspected in an animal that we thought we knew quite well,” she told Science News.

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Header Image: Photo caption: Arctic hares, like this one, are known for their mobility, but a study recently tracked one making an epic journey across northern Canada—the longest recorded for any lagomorph. Credit: Daniel W. Carstensen