Snipe numbers in the UK have dropped to their lowest levels since the early 1990s, according to the latest figures from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

The Breeding Bird Survey, conducted by 2,500 volunteers at more than 3,200 sites, found a 40 per cent decline in the bird between 2010 and 2011. Organiser Kate Risely described the results as ?very worrying?.

Previous declines of snipe, one of our most important wild quarry species, have been blamed on habitat loss and land drainage, but the BTO also highlighted potential increases in predation pressure.

BASC?s head of biodiversity projects, Ian Danby, told Shooting Times Times that the survey showed an ?undeniable trend?, but stressed the importance of shoots contributing to the overall picture of breeding waders such as snipe.

He said: ?Shoots that manage wet grasslands and wet habitats and effective predator control can be havens for breeding waders. ?Our conservation partners don?t necessarily know about these kinds of sites, so sharing our knowledge of them is extremely important, so that they get a good understanding of what is happening with the species.

?That will ensure they have balanced opinions and policies when confronted by these quite frightening figures.?

The rest of this article appears in the 1st August 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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Join other ST readers in our forums to discuss your views.



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