John Burnside (Nature, 3 May) omits that grouse shooting is the only land use that explicitly maintains and enhances one of the rarest habitats on the planet - heather-dominated moorland, a point ratified in the 1992 Rio Convention on Biodiversity. These moors support thirteen biological communities in the EU Habitats Directive and eighteen bird species of European or international importance. He might have also mentioned that the main threat to wildcats is not grouse shooting, but their willingness to interbreed with household cats. Those seeking to criticise grouse moors might perhaps visit one to appreciate just how successful they are at protecting our priority habitats and species.
Director of communications GWCT