Rehnus Maik

Influence of tourism activities on mountain hares (Lepus timidus) and their consequences
Auswirkungen touristischer Aktivitäten auf die Schneehasen (Lepus timidus) und deren Folgen

Project Number: CH-4455
Project Type: Research_Project
Project Duration: 01/01/2009 - 01/31/2012 project completed
Funding Source: other ,
Project Leader: Dr. Maik Rehnus
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf
Phone: +41 (0) 79 354 31 36 ; +41 (0) 44 739 21 11
FAX: +41 (0) 44 739 22 15
e-Mail: maik.rehnus(at)

related to this project.
for which the project has a relevance.

general biology

faeces; cortisol; non-invasive, Lepus timidus; tourism; Alps; behaviour

Winter tourism is increasing in the European Alps and havehas a significant impact on wildlife. Wildlife is often disturbed by these activities as they mostly occur in an unpredictable manner, and animals may only have limited possibilities for adaptation. However, the physiological and behavioural reaction to tourism activities in Mountain hares (Lepus timidus) is are still unknown. In this study, we measured levels of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM) in the Mountain hare in areas that had zero, low, or high tourism activities during winter 2011. In a predator challenge experiments, where terrestrial and avian predators were simulated, we compared changes in behaviour and food intake in six captive Mountain hares between experimental stress and non-stress periods. Our results showed that GCM secretion was positively correlated with increased tourist intensities and changed behaviour negatively and increased food intake for hares. In order to protect Mountain hares populations, we recommend that managers keep forests inhabited by Mountain hares free from tourism infrastructure and retain undisturbed forest patches within skiing areas.

Leading questions:
In this study, we measured levels of glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM) in mountain hares in areas with different tourist intensities during winter. We also investigated the influence of predator challenge experiments on GCM excretion, behaviour and food intake. Finally, we suggest management strategies for conserving mountain hare populations in the Alps.

Rehnus M., Hackländer K., Palme R. (2009) A non-invasive method for measuring glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM) in Mountain hares (Lepus timidus). European Journal of Wildlife Research 55: 615-620.

Rehnus M, Palme R, Filli F, Hackländer K. (2010) Seasonal glucocorticoid secretion in mountain hares (Lepus timidus). Mammalia 74: 347-350.

Rehnus M., Wehrle M., Palme R. (2012) Influence of tourism activities on glucocorticoid secretion in mountain hares (Lepus timidus). Wiener Tierärztliche Monatsschrift, 99 (Supplement 1), 55 [3rd annual meeting of International Society of Wildlife Endocrinology, Conference on “Non-invasive Monitoring of Hormones”, Wien, Österreich, 23-26 September 2012].

Rehnus M., Wehrle M., Palme R. (2012) How do mountain hares (Lepus timidus) react to tourism activities in winter? In: Proceedings of the 4th World Lagomorph Conference, Wien, Österreich, 24-27 Juli 2012:102.

weitere Publikationen

Last update: 12/20/19
Source of data: ProClim- Research InfoSystem (1993-2020)
Update the data of project: CH-4455

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