More than 250 Scottish rural estates have signed up to become accredited members of a pioneering conservation initiative, the Wildlife Estates Scotland scheme. It marks a key milestone on the way to these estates becoming Scotland’s first officially recognised “wildlife estates”, where best practice wildlife conservation is integrated with sustainable management for shooting activities.

Supported by the Scottish Government, at the scheme’s launch in East Lothian on Tuesday, 19 February, Scotland’s environment minister Paul Wheelhouse paid tribute to those estates that have pledged to become accredited members of the initiative. He said: “Accreditation through Wildlife Estates Scotland is testament that those involved in Scotland’s rural land and estates are serious about proving their land management practices are in the best interests of biodiversity and wildlife habitats.” In his speech at the launch, the minister referred specifically to instances of wildlife crime, noting: “In recent years, the work of estates associated with sporting activities has sometimes attracted the wrong sort of publicity. Not seeking to downplay the continuing problems with wildlife crime, I think it is important that Scottish estates start to generate good publicity, and for the right reasons.”

The rest of this article appears in the 27th February issue of Shooting Times.

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