The first-ever national survey of Britain?s gamekeepers has revealed the key role they play in conserving wildlife and habitats across the country.

Nearly 1,000 gamekeepers from England, Scotland and Wales, representing a fifth of the entire profession, took part in the survey. Among other results, it found that the area of land managed by gamekeepers is 13 times that of all RSPB Reserves.

National Gamekeepers? Organisation chairman Lindsay Waddell said: ?The truth is that gamekeepers undoubtedly host more wildlife on their land than all the nature conservation bodies put together.?

The results from the survey, which was commissioned by the NGO and the Scottish Gamekeepers Association, showed how land managed by gamekeepers is teeming with wildlife, including many rare and charismatic species.

More than 80 per cent of respondents reported having kestrels, buzzards, sparrowhawks, barn and tawny owls on their land. Some other birds of prey, such as the common buzzard, were seen as having detrimental effects on game and wildlife, but were tolerated nonetheless.

The rest of this article appears in 3rd August issue of Shooting Times.

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