The GWCT has called on shoots to pull together to help wild grey partridges after one of the worst breeding seasons in living memory. Measures suggested to help greys include voluntary restraint on shooting this season.

Professor Nick Sotherton, director of research at the GWCT said: ?This ituation is incredibly serious. Early results from the Partridge Count Scheme (PCS) and various estates where GWCT staff assist in counting partridges show that it has been an apocalyptic year for grey partridge breeding success.

?Most estates that have a sustainable population of wild grey partridges have already made the decision not to shoot greys this season, which reflects the serious nature of the problem.?

Dr Julie Ewald, a senior scientist at the GWCT, said that low chick survival is down to numerous factors. She commented: ?Even on estates that are carrying out exemplary partridge conservation measures, evidence shows the grey partridge chick survival rate was as low as 15 per cent, and we need at least 33 per cent just to maintain numbers. The appalling weather would have had three key effects: it would have led to direct chick mortality through chilling; starvation through lack of suitable chick food insects; and disease through ingesting inappropriate food, such as slugs that transfer parasitic infections.?

The rest of this article appears in the 19th September issue of Shooting Times.

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The rest of this article appears in the 4th July issue of Shooting Times.

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