25 June 2019

Science has vital part to play in proposed Scottish bill and consultation on mountain hare management

Mountain hareThe Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) in Scotland has stressed that evidence must have a vital part to play in the consultation on Green MSP Alison Johnstone’s proposed bill that, among other measures, is seeking a ban on the control of mountain hares.

Bruce Russell, Director Scotland, GWCT, says:

“It is important that the debate surrounding this proposed bill is rooted in what we know, rather than what we think we know, and led by fact and not by emotion. The GWCT has this year published new work showing that driven grouse shooting provides a conservation benefit to Scotland’s mountain hare population. This and mapping work we have recently undertaken disputes claims of drastic hare reductions on grouse moors.

“We have also developed an agreed methodology for the counting of mountain hares that is now being put into practice by the people who actually conserve mountain hares, including those managing our grouse moors. Much of our work is highlighting a real issue for mountain hares, that of losing moorland habitats and the management on which the hares thrive.

“Action should only be taken if there is an issue. Hares are already protected by a no-shooting season. Based on the best available evidence a ban is not required. Any further restriction on the shooting of mountain hares, whether for food or for woodland/forestry protection, would create a difficult precedent for the management of deer, where thousands are culled each year for that purpose.”

You can read the consultation on Alison Johnstone’s proposed Protection and Conservation of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill by following this link. You can submit your response here:

SUBMIT YOUR RESPONSE

The consultation closes on 15 September 2019.

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Notes to editors

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is an independent wildlife conservation charity which carries out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife. 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.

For information, contact:

Playfair Walker
Telephone: 0131 445 5570
Email: richard@playfairwalker.com

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