IT is a sight so rare that they have been given special Government protection.

This adult albino brown hare was caught on camera in Hampshire at the weekend after surviving in the wild against all the odds.

They seldom live beyond the leveret stage because their pure white colouring makes them targets for foxes and other predators.

Brown hares have suffered a 75 per cent decline since the 1960s and were one of the first species to be given special conservation status under the Government’s biodiversity action plan programme.

Peter Thompson, farmland biodiversity advisor with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, based in Fordingbridge, spent many hours tracking down this rare mammal.

He said: “The last survey of hares suggested that their wintering numbers in Britain had dropped to around 800,000 animals.

“The action plan proposed that our countryside should support at least two million animals in winter and our recent records suggest that we might be halfway to achieving this target.

“In the eastern side of the country, including Yorkshire, they have been doing particularly well.

“However, in the western side of the country, including Wales, they are still showing a worrying decline.”