On 1 November the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) announced the completion of its landmark five-year Grey Partridge Recovery Project (GPRP), which was conducted on a 1,000-hectare farm at Royston, in Hertfordshire. Results show that partridge numbers peaked at 18.4 pairs per square kilometre in 2007, which is an impressive 640 per cent rise since intensive management started in 2002.
Despite a number of poor breeding seasons because of wet summers, the project achieved its original target of 18 pairs per square kilometre.
Starting from a low density in 2002 of just 2.6 pairs per square kilometre, by 2007 grey partridge numbers had risen to 18.4 pairs per square kilometre. Though the project concluded this year with a slightly lower count of 11.8 pairs per square kilometre, the GWCT is confident that numbers will again increase if the weather is appropriate for breeding next spring.
Ian Lindsay, the GWCTs director of advisory and education told Shooting Times that the project was a great challenge for the GWCT: Having spent 40 years researching the biology of the bird, we needed to show that we could restore grey partridges to a sustainable level on commercial farmland using techniques that are available to every farmer. If successful, we believed this could provide an important blueprint for those involved in game management to initiate partridge recovery projects themselves.
The rest of this article appears in 18th November issue of Shooting Times.
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