Restoration of a wild grey partridge shoot: a major development in the Sussex study, UK.
The scientific basis of wild grey partridge management has been known for a generation. This includes controlling nest predators, providing nesting cover, having sufficient insect food for chicks and appropriate rates of shooting. More recently, measures such as providing food for adult birds and habitats for protection from birds of prey have also been considered important. Habitat provision can be expensive, but in the UK costs can be partially recovered through governmental agri-environment schemes. The landowner still needs to pay for the essential gamekeeper. Since 2003/04, one part of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust's (GWCT) Sussex Study area has put these principles of environmental management into practice with the aim of restoring a wild grey partridge shoot to this part of Southern England. Results have been impressive, with the spring pair density increasing from 0.3 pairs/100 ha in 2003 to nearly 20 pairs/100 ha in 2010 on an area of just over 10 km2. Over the past two years a wild grey partridge shoot has taken place, and the landowner and his team have gained national recognition for their conservation work.