Sunday, 4 August 2013

CLARIFICATION: SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY ARTICLE

In today's Scotland On Sunday newspaper, a story regarding GWCT research at Langholm Moor on the ability or otherwise of grouse to co-exist with Hen Harriers on grouse moors stated that The Scottish Gamekeepers Association would support wide use of diversionary feeding to see how effective it is on other grouse moors. The SGA would like to clarify that, at no point, was this asked of the SGA. The SGA believes that whether or not a grouse moor chooses to trial diversionary feeding is entirely up to the individual moor or estate. The SGA expressed no view either way in the article on whether diversionary feeding should be used widely. The comments attributed to the SGA also omitted the key final sentence, which stated the following: "The effectiveness or otherwise of diversionary feeding will only truly be tested at Langholm, however, when there are enough grouse to shoot. Currently, that is not happening.” Read the full SGA statement, which was given to Scotland On Sunday, here. Again, the first element of the statement supplied refers to the wider findings of the Langholm research and not specifically to diversionary feeding (hence the references to wading birds, which was removed by the newspaper). “The scientific research work at Langholm is vital and has proved what many land managers working every day in the countryside have know for some time. This can be seen most readily when you look at the data when the gamekeepers were removed from Langholm Moor. The numbers of wading birds crashed, as did the productivity of Hen Harriers. “Game management, with grouse shooting providing the economic driver to carry on all the associated habitat and predator control work, provides a suite of conservation benefits for grouse, waders and Harriers.“With the research having established that part, the next part is to put the techniques in place to reduce the impact of Harriers on grouse, thereby reducing the conflicts.“There is still some distance to travel here.“Diversionary feeding, for example, has been shown to work when Harrier numbers are at fairly low densities. The effectiveness or otherwise of diversionary feeding will only truly be tested at Langholm, however, when there are enough grouse to shoot. Currently, that is not happening.” Please Note: The SGA is fully supportive of all research which promotes the legal resolution of conflicts and refers in its statement to the positive work being done at Langholm Moor.