Finding working solutions

  • The conflict between grouse shooting and raptors is well understood. Our research has shown that raptor predation can not only cause a cessation of driven grouse shooting but may also supress any recovery in grouse numbers to such a degree driven shooting does not restart. Without the incentive of driven grouse shooting, there is little motivation to maintain predator control or manage grazing pressure in the uplands.
  • We seek a balance where gamekeepers can be employed to maintain the habitat and low generalist predator numbers that benefit both grouse and harriers. A number of new approaches and techniques are needed to resolve this conflict. Diversionary feeding of hen harriers has been tested for nine years. It did not work well enough, on its own, to resolve the conflict in monitored trials on Langholm Moor.
  • Thus the GWCT supports Defra’s 2016 Hen Harrier Action Plan, comprising proposals to trial additional management options here. These trials, of nest and winter roost protection, translocation and non-lethal brood management, sensibly utilising adaptive management approaches that are available through the current legislation, have yet to start, but we remain engaged in the process of looking for practical solutions to this issue.

Are those calling for the banning or licensing of grouse moors to protect birds of prey more focused on processes than a workable solution?

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