Natural enemies that both contribute to a balanced ecosystem.
Herbivores such as hares and rabbits are also important for the ecosystem. They provide food for predators, such as the fox, the stork, and in the Netherlands, recently the wolf. But the hare also contributes to the ecosystem through its own eating behaviour. Grazing allows the hare to maintain precious nature reserves. By keeping plants short, a lot of sunlight can continue to reach all the way to the ground. This way plants that do not get that high
are able to continue to catch enough light and satisfy birds that like to live in open areas. Only, none of these benefits come with a price tag. Other benefits do. For example, hares and rabbits produce wool, meat, they are used as pets or in the laboratory. In total, the hare adds a roughly estimated € 4.0 billion, although in most cases the figures are purely regional revenues. Worldwide, the amount could be a lot higher.
The fox is by no means a difficult eater. And that is exactly the reason why the fox is so important to the ecosystem. Are there too many hares? Then the fox hunts and eats the surplus. And this is very important. If the hare populations become too big, it’ll not only
have a negative effect on the environment but also on the hares themselves. A large population allows diseases to develop and spread, putting pressure on the entire population. For that, this beautiful animal deserves a little more appreciation.