As the shooting season draws to a close, those of you sending in returns to the National Gamebag Census will be doing a great service to the countryside. You are part of an important, long-running citizen science programme that not only informs policy such as General Licences, but also is covered in prestigious journals such as Ibis and the European Journal of Wildlife Research.
This week, data from the Census cropped up on Radio 4’s popular panel show The Unbelievable Truth to corroborate a claim made by British ‘specialist’ retailer Ann Summers. Host David Mitchell unfortunately got our name wrong, stated the following:
The sex shop Ann Summers estimates that it has sold more Rampant Rabbit vibrators than there are actual rabbits in the UK. AS estimate that since the Rampant Rabbit was released in 1972, they have sold an average of 800,000 units per year, a total of 38.4 million vibrators. The Game & Wildlife Trust [sic] estimate the UK’s rabbit population to be around 37 million, so yes that is correct.
You can listen to the show here, we’re mentioned about 26 minutes in.
Latest NGC data suggest that the past 10 years have seen rabbit numbers decline by around a third, likely to be driven by a new more pathogenic variant of the rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD2) which reached the British Isles around 2010.
If you keep annual bag records from your shoot, please submit them to the National Gamebag Census. The more data we receive, the better it is for geographical coverage and precision of the summary trends that we produce. There is no participation fee, and we keep all records strictly confidential. If you have historical data held in game books, we would also be delighted to hear from you. Visit www.gwct.org.uk/ngc for more information.