The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has announced that it secured £32,100 of lottery cash for a scheme to save blackgrouse, in a week in which the RSPB received a grant 10 times as big to secure hen harriers against persecution.

The GWCT described the Heritage Lottery Fund grant, which will help fund the two-year Woodlands for Black Grouse project, as ?a lifeline? for the threatened bird. Blackgrouse numbers in northern England hit an all-time low of just 500 males in the winter of 2009/10.

Fran Atterton, the GWCT?s blackgrouse project officer, said: ?The impact of the severe winter in 2009/10 highlighted the urgent need for pockets of native woodland to provide an emergency food source. Despite considerable woodland planting over the past 15 years, woodland is absent from many key areas.

?The project will target these areas to encourage the creation of pockets of woodland through conservation advice and an educational programme that will involve local communities and volunteers and advise on grants for woodland planting schemes.?

The rest of this article appears in 13th April issue of Shooting Times.

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