24 April 2014

GWCT and Oakbank team up to help wild pheasants

Like many farmland birds, wild pheasant numbers have declined in recent yearsThe UK’s leading wildlife research charity, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), is launching a survey to investigate wild pheasants in East Anglia in association with a Cambridgeshire seed company.

Wild pheasants can thrive in the eastern counties, but like many farmland birds, they have declined in recent years. The GWCT’s new survey aims to collect information on the causes of death of wild pheasants in the region, and will be supported by a generous donation from Oakbank Game & Conservation Ltd of Huntingdon.

Dr Roger Draycott, Head of Advisory at the GWCT and co-ordinator of the survey said, “We want to build on our recent research investigating the causes of mortality of wild pheasants in the breeding season and we are calling on all shoot managers who have wild pheasants to help us by submitting fresh pheasant carcasses to specialist vets for post mortem examination this spring.”

Oakbank will cover the cost of the post mortems as part of a special project to mark their tenth anniversary. Oakbank specializes in habitat creation, supplying a wide range of game cover, wild flowers, grasses, hedging, trees and shrubs. It works on a number of lowland wild game estates where the decline in wild pheasant numbers is a particular concern.

Reflecting on the past decade, Oakbank Director Tim Furbank said, “In that time, whilst diligent predator control combined with improvements in habitat have led to significant increases in wild game on some estates, many are still losing hens during the breeding season and this research may help to find out if there are underlying causes that could be addressed.”

Dr Draycott welcomed Oakbank’s involvement, saying, “We are delighted that they have chosen to support this project with the GWCT in their anniversary year.”

For further information, please contact Roger Draycott on 01440 821325 or by email at rdraycott@gwct.org.uk.

END

Photocaption: Like many farmland birds, wild pheasant numbers have declined in recent years. Photocredit: Peter Thompson, GWCT.


Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.

ISDN radio broadcast line – at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.

For information, contact:
Kate Williams
Telephone: 01425 651000
Email: press@gwct.org.uk

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