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The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has recognised the enormous achievement of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s (GWCT) revolutionary Grey Partridge Recovery Project.

Dr Jon Hutton, director of UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Scheme, congratulated the GWCT’s efforts at a national conference which was held in Cambridge last Friday to mark the findings of a project designed to reverse the decline of grey partridges on farmland in Royston, in Hertfordshire.

Dr Stephen Tapper discusses the conservation that is going on at Royston during the afternoon field trip.

“The trust is spearheading this research and has been enormously successful. This project has unequivocally proved that it is possible to restore this iconic bird to the UK,” commented Dr Hutton. The trust used the conference as an opportunity to showcase the pioneering research that it has been conducting since being appointed lead partner on the Government’s grey partridge Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) in 1996. A wide range of topics were touched on, including the history of partridge decline and the importance of habitat and boosting insect numbers.

CLA’s Oliver Harwood listens attentively to Dr Stephen Tapper.

Mark Hudson, the trust’s chairman, announced that the project had achieved an extraordinary six-fold increase in grey partridges over the starting density of just 2.9 pairs per 100 hectares to 18.4 pairs in just four years. It is hoped that the farmland at Royston will demonstrate how to attain the same level of success elsewhere in the country.

Delegates wait patiently by pegs for the grey partridge to be flushed at Royston.

In addition, the trust’s national grey partridge count scheme, which is the largest farmer-led monitoring scheme in Europe, is showing a 40 per cent increase in grey partridge numbers on land managed by farmers who have also adopted the trust’s recommendations.

The rest of this article will appear in the 11 October issue of Shooting Times.

For further information visit the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

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