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Students recruited in bid to restore curlew populations

The SGA has called on the government to utilise gamekeeping students to help curlew.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) has called on the Scottish government to look within the existing rural workforce by utilising gamekeeping students to save red-listed birds such as the curlew from extinction.

The nine-year Upland Predation Experiment has drawn positive correlations between responsible management for gamebirds and increased breeding productivity in curlew. Techniques such as legal predator control at scale, habitat manipulation and careful muirburn have been scientifically proven to benefit curlew.

By working in tandem with the SGA and Scotland’s gamekeeping course providers (Borders College, SRUC Elmwood in Fife, and UHI North Highlands in Thurso), the Scottish government could enlist national-certificate students for curlew conservation projects, further developing their fieldcraft.

Representing Working for Waders, Patrick Laurie told ST: “Predator control is widely recognised as an important tool that benefits the conservation of ground-nesting birds; however, Holyrood’s proposals to ban snaring will make it harder to protect birds like lapwings and curlew. The SGA’s proposals represent a useful shift in thinking as we strive to deliver the action that will underpin big policy commitments around halting biodiversity loss.”