Last week, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) published the results of its Upland Predation Experiment conducted on Otterburn moor in Northumberland. The nine-year study clearly showed the benefit of crow and fox control on the recovery of curlew, lapwing and golden plover.
One of the longest-running studies of its kind ever undertaken, the research shows for the first time that the control of common predators such as crows and foxes significantly improves, by more than three times, the breeding success of curlew, lapwing and golden plover all species of conservation concern.
The results have important implications for the future of bird conservation in the uplands. Dr Stephen Tapper, head of policy and public affairs with the GWCT, explained: If we want to reverse the decline in some bird populations we need to do more than simply improve countryside habitats. Agri-environment schemes on their own, without predator control, seem unable to give rise to an abundance of breeding waders or even bring about a significant improvement in sparse populations.
The rest of this article appears in 17th March issue of Shooting Times.
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