Hares are strange creatures - with a disarming lack of aggression and astonishing harmlessness, they seem somewhat out of time. Their long whiskers vibrate to the left and right of the hare's cleavage that characterizes their species. Above it, their nose trembles tirelessly to sniff out everything imaginable. Their eyes like their long ears, the so-called spoons, are always in 360° readiness, which nevertheless is not always able to save their lives, because enemies of the hares are many: Foxes, birds of prey as well as hunters. Among them is the author himself, who tells in this very personal portrait how he was supposed to shoot a hare with his own gun when he was eight years old. It will not be the last time that compassion wins out in Wilhelm Bode's lifelong relationship with hares and rabbits. In this portrait, he devotedly illuminates the ambiguous role that these so fertile animals play, not only in Christian-influenced cultural history: from the companion of Aphrodite to the Easter Bunny. Immortalized by Dürer, threatened by human hunting instincts and agricultural land consolidation, today's highly endangered hare must repeatedly prove its resilience.
Wilhelm Bode, born in 1947, a lawyer and forestry academic, first headed the state forestry administration and later the supreme nature conservation authority of the Saarland. In 1987, he was the first to introduce clearcut-free permanent forestry throughout a federal state. He initiated, among other things, today's Bliesgau biosphere region and, in 2004, the designation of five clusters of ancient beech forests as Germany's contribution to the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site European Beech Forests.