The newly published public consultation will make it illegal to sell or release certain species into the wild.

According to DEFRA, invasive non-native species are considered the second greatest threat to wildlife after habitat destruction. The reworking of Schedule 9 comes as a direct result of the consultation into the GB invasive non-native species framework strategy, which concluded in May this year.

This move has received surprised responses from industry bodies and game industry workers. A DEFRA spokesperson said that many of the species it is considering adding to Schedule 9 are already established in the wild, but continue to pose a conservation threat to native biodiversity: “They can have adverse impacts on native wildlife by predation, competition and spread of disease. It is important to point out that this is a consultation, and we welcome responses on the proposals.”

Dr Stephen Tapper, of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, pointed out that though these proposals tidy up this part of the Act: “It is already illegal to release animals into the wild that are not normally resident here. So, for many species, such as wild boar, ruddy duck and Chinese water deer, it looks rather like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.”

The rest of this article will appear in 15 November issue of Shooting Times.

The full report can be viewed on DEFRA’s website.

What is YOUR opinion? Do you think it should be illegal to sell and release green pheasants? Vote in our poll below.

Join other ST readers in our forums to discuss your views.