In 2012 the GWCT outlined the idea for a Campaign4game to capture and encourage the very best conservation practices across all shoot sizes to maximise the net gain in biodiversity.
At a time when all land uses from farming to forestry continue to be challenged about their net contribution to nature – released based shoots across the country face the same question.
The campaign will be complete once the unequivocal evidence of the net impact on biodiversity, on a national rather than localised scale has been recorded and recognised.
To some, rearing gamebirds for shooting will always be wrong and nothing will change their minds. However, the unpopularity of this practice also runs deep in others, not just in animal welfare groups, but the media, politicians and conservation charities.
Our research over the last 15 years has shown how much valuable management goes on in the British countryside, much of it not at the tax-payers expense. Habitat is retained, managed and created for wildlife because of game management. Also, game management seeks to control common predators and provide supplementary food in the long winter months.
Thoroughly researched scientific evidence is the only way to prove or disprove whether a particular practice benefits, damages or has no measurable impact on wildlife. When the research is applied on the ground, it’s the best way we have to counter the threats of sometimes hostile media and other individuals and organisations.
The stance of conservation charities about buzzards clearly shows little love for rearing gamebirds. Also, we have been seeing new reports from these powerful and well funded organisations that appear opposed to gamebird releasing.
You may never meet the team of people who research and share the science. But when they prevent the sport you love becoming a casualty of hostile headlines, you’ll feel their influence. The research and practice of sound science and its wider recognition will bring more benefit to wildlife and conservation and help counter the one-sided discussions in the media.
£75 will help analyse years of data to produce six new reports on the conservation affects of rearing and releasing game birds. A survey is planned of up of 80% of shoots in a control site to compare against a Control Site. This is conservation science at its most accountable.