Chris Packham appears to have forgotten facts that even the government recognises (‘Ruthless cull’: Hundreds of thousands of animals being killed on private estates to protect grouse shooting, Chris Packham says, July 31).
Our heather moorlands, the sort best maintained and protected by grouse shooting, were recognised as globally important by the Rio Convention nearly 30 years ago. This is no surprise because they support 13 plant communities listed in the Habitats Directive and 18 bird species of international importance. Those seeking to criticise grouse moor management should remember that, where it has ceased, we have lost over 40 percent of this precious heather cover. Worse, in North Wales, many species including curlew, lapwing and golden plover declined to the point where they are extinct in some areas. Of greatest concern is that our recent scientific studies have revealed that simply reinstating grouse moor management after such dramatic losses will not necessarily reverse them. In light of these findings, it would appear utterly reckless to suggest there is a fundamental problem with the way gamekeepers manage and protect one of our most cherished landscapes – heather moorland.
Director of communications GWCT
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