25 February 2022

Latest report from NatureScot shows that urgent and drastic action needed now for capercaillie, not more research, says Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

Capercaillie1 www.lauriecampbell.comThe Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, which has been in the forefront of research into declining capercaillie numbers in Scotland, has said that all involved need to act now, following the stark conclusions in a new report released by a special NatureScot Scientific Advisory Committee subgroup today.

Rory Kennedy, Director Scotland, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, said: “There can be no ifs or buts about this report’s conclusions, which followed the independent review of the huge body of scientific research concerning the plight of the capercaillie. We share the conclusion that we need to move now, we need to move fast, and we don’t need to hide behind the need for more science if we are to save our dwindling populations of this iconic species.

“The actions we need to take are clear - preventing disturbance at certain times of year and deploying effective predator control to allow sufficient brood numbers to stabilise the population. This will mean closing off certain areas from walkers, particularly those with dogs, and restricting mountain bike access to trails where birds will not be disturbed during the breeding season.

“And we need predator management across their entire habitat – control of pine marten and foxes that science has shown are responsible for decimating brood numbers. Pine marten can be controlled through translocation to other areas of the UK, and we must up our commitment to lethal control of fox numbers, however unpalatable this may be in certain quarters. Our own previous research on diversionary feeding for other species would suggest current pilots are speculative and cannot be a barrier for the use of proven interventions now. We also need to learn more about the impact of the large badger population growth within the capercaillie range.

“All involved need to commit to this. There has been denial over this level of necessary action for too long. We have prevaricated and avoided the inconvenient truths. If we want to save our capercaillie it really is now a case of now or never.”

Link to the report: https://www.nature.scot/doc/review-capercaillie-conservation-and-management-report-scientific-advisory-committee

Photo credit: Laurie Campbell

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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