Since the 1980s the GWCT has developed and run four highly successful and influential lowland wild game recovery demonstration projects. Integral to all these projects was the gamekeeping programme which was run by Malcolm Brockless. The first was on Salisbury Plain in the 1980s where we demonstrated and proved scientifically for the first time that effective predation control can lead to the recovery of a declining ground nesting farmland bird – in this case the grey partridge. The second demonstration, in the 1990s was at our farm at the Allerton Project in Leicestershire. Here, we showed how wild pheasants and farmland wildlife could thrive alongside productive farming. This project has been extremely influential in helping Govt form agri-environment policy and demonstrating to thousands of farmers and land managers how productive farming and wildlife can co-exist.
Our third demo, at Royston in Hertfordshire in the early 2000s, sought to recover a population of grey partridges from a very low level in an area where they had once been abundant, to produce a sustainable harvest of wild game. This very successful project proved that grey partridges can be recovered to impressive levels within the context of a modern productive arable farming system. The Royston project proved the art of the possible and helped motivate many farms and estates across lowland Britain to start their own successful partridge recovery projects.
Ten years ago we started the Rotherfield wild game recovery project in Hampshire. Here, the aim has been to produce a sustainable grey partridge population from zero, increase the levels of farmland biodiversity and develop a system for game shooting that provides a healthy number of days shooting alongside recovering a population of wild partridges and pheasants. The project has met all these aims and is a model for many shoots looking to restore wild game and farmland biodiversity.
Malcolm’s passion, dedication, hard work and expert knowledge have been fundamental to the success of these projects since the mid 1980s. The GWCT, the wider game management community, wild greys and farmland wildlife are indebted to Malcolm for all he has achieved on our behalf. Malcolm will continue to provide consultancy services to GWCT on wild grey partridge projects and is keen to offer his services to the wider game management and shooting community. For further details, please contact Roger Draycott firstname.lastname@example.org.
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