Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Mountain Hare Survey returns after 10-year absence

Photo: GWCT

After a ten-year absence, the Game and & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has announced that their Scottish Mountain Hare Survey is making a return.  This follows the recent announcement about the agreed counting methodology.

Scottish Gamekeepers Association and Scottish Land & Estates will be asking their Scottish members to take part in a questionnaire-based survey.

See the full article.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Sustainability of Driven Grouse Moors

This is the announcement that was published by the Scottish Government on 24 November 2017. I have edited this slightly to highlight the key sections.  The membership of the Group may be of particular interest to Forum members.  Adam Smith has input to the Group as one of the specialist advisers. 

Membership of an independent group to ensure grouse moor management practices are sustainable and legally compliant has been confirmed.

The new group will be led by Professor Alan Werrity, who previously chaired a Scottish Natural Heritage review into sustainable moorland management. It includes scientists, moorland managers, regulatory experts and advisers from SNH, Scottish Wildlife Trust, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

The group has been set up in response to SNH research that found almost a third of golden eagles being tracked by satellite died in suspicious circumstances and that the majority of cases were where land is intensively managed for driven grouse shooting.

The group will look at the environmental impact of grouse moor management practices such as muirburn, the use of medicated grit and mountain hare culls and advise on the option of licensing grouse shooting businesses.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

“We have been clear that the continued killing of protected species of birds of prey damages the reputation of law-abiding gamekeepers, landowners and the country as a whole.

“This new group will look at what we can do to balance our commitment to tackling wildlife crime with grouse moor management practices, so it continues to contribute to our rural economy, while being sustainable and compliant with the law.

“The group membership reflects the complex nature and wide range of issues that need to be considered and I look forward to hearing their advice in due course.”

Professor Werrity said:

“This is truly challenging work given the traditions underlying moorland management and the concerns coming to light over some mal-practices. 

“My earlier work chairing the SNH Moorland review also sought to reconcile nature conservation interests with promoting the rural economy. I will be taking an evidence-based approach, and for this we have the right mixture of experience, expertise and knowledge on the group to get to grips with the subject. I look forward to getting started on this review. ”


Read in the birds of prey report.

Group Membership

The confirmed membership of the group includes:
Professor Ian Newton, Professor Alison Hester, and Professor Colin Reid 

Moorland Managers 
Alexander Jameson BLE MRICS FAAV and Mark Oddy MRICS CEnV MIAagrM. 

Specialist advisers to the group
Dr Calum Macdonald, SEPA; Professor Des Thompson, SNH; Dr Adam Smith, Director Scotland GWCT; and Susan Davies, SWT.