ravens

Death threat to Scottish National Heritage chief after raven cull decision

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) chairman Dr Mike Cantlay has received a death threat after Springwatch presenter Chris Packham criticised a decision to license a raven cull in Perthshire. SNH granted 
a research licence to Strathbaarn Community Collaboration for Waders, which wants to protect declining wading birds such as curlew and…

Ilkley Moor

What does the future hold for Ilkley Moor without grouse shooting?

On the other end of the phone the keeper let out a short, exasperated sigh. “The peewits will go, curlews, grouse of course, they’ll lose the lot.” “How long until there is a big impact” I asked. “Two years maybe, certainly not more. ” We were discussing the likely outcome…

burning heather

Is heather burning doomed?

About a year ago I wrote about looming problems with heather burning, saying that it would become a thing of the past on large areas of the northern uplands. It would appear that my worst fears are to be realised. There is not a ban on burning everywhere, but it…

Wildfowling on foreshore

What can Guns do about plastic?

I’m talking rubbish again. After my account in Shooting Times of wildfowlers organising a litter-picking day at Lindisfarne , a reader pointed me to an item in the Daily Telegraph. The report starts: “Organisers of marathons and other outdoor events have been urged to do more to clear up the thousands…

wild salmon

Scotland seeks to solve salmon crisis

The Scottish Government has pledged £700,000 to tackle declining wild salmon stocks. With survival rates for salmon at sea having dropped to just five per cent, ministers say that the money will help to fund new research and activities and mitigate damaging factors such as predation, illegal poaching and salmon…

Salmon numbers plumet

New angling rules for salmon

The Environment Agency has announced new plans to help protect plummeting salmon numbers  across English rivers and the river Esk in Scotland. Proposals include halting the taking of salmon from the majority of net fisheries by next year and the introduction of a mandatory requirement to return all salmon caught…

Ilkley Moor

Fury as councillors end shooting on Ilkley Moor

Bradford Council’s Labour Group has refused to renew the grouse shooting lease on Ilkley Moor in a move shooting groups claimed was made to appease the animal rights lobby. Bradford Labour has majority on the council and a decision to renew the lease rested in its hands. The lease had…

Northern Forest creation

New Northern Forest to be planted

The Government has announced plans to create a new Northern Forest spanning more than 120 miles between Bradford, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool. With backing from Defra secretary Michael Gove, the Woodland Trust and Community Forest Trust propose to plant more than 50 million trees along the M62 corridor from Liverpool…

Grey partridges

Help to save grey partridges by noting your numbers

Keepers, farmers and land managers are being urged to take part in the Partridge Count Scheme this spring. The annual monitoring initiative, which started in 1933, is led by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) and collects information on the breeding success of grey partridges, which have been in…

British Trust for Ornithology snipe

Keepers and farmers can help wading birds

A new report by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has emphasised the key role that gamekeepers on grouse moors can play in the conservation of upland waders. The report highlights a pilot project in Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, which has been trialling methods for involving keepers…

GWCT calls for shooter restraint on declining woodcock

Shooters are being asked to reduce the number of migrant woodcock they shoot due to the species’ poor breeding season. Andrew Hoodless, head of wetland research at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has called for restraint from shooters in the UK after concerns were initially raised by woodcock…

plastic pollution on beach

Plastic pollution in the ocean – what can we do about it?

I recently saw a shocking image highlighting one of the perils of 
all that plastic litter that is drifting around our oceans. The photograph, which showed the skeletal remains of a dead juvenile albatross — a decaying pile of feathers and bone with its body cavity crammed full of plastic…

woodcock

How shooters can protect the woodcock

Sportsmen and women are being asked to refrain from shooting woodcock until 1st December, in new guidelines issued by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT). This is due to concern that shooting may be a factor in the decline of home breeding birds. Woodcock has red status The UK…

Scottish keepers restore wild grey partridges

Wild grey partridges have been returned to the Tomatin moors in Inverness-shire thanks to local gamekeepers and some unusual help from bantam chickens. Wild greys had not been seen on the moor since the late 1990s, but in 2011 the team at Clune estate set out to bring them back.…

salmon

Salmon facing myriad threats

A huge decline in the number of young wild salmon returning to British rivers could lead to a national shortage, according to the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT). For 16 years, the GWCT, along with the Government’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, has monitored the number of…

Michael Gove

DEFRA boss Michael Gove praises shooters

Environment secretary Michael Gove has once again celebrated the role that game shooting and land management plays in preserving the countryside. Mr Gove addressed an audience at last month’s All Party Parliamentary Group for Game and Wildlife Conservation, in a meeting chaired by esteemed countryman Sir Nicholas Soames. Importance of…

European conservation award for GWCT

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has received a prestigious European award, recognising its work in wildlife management and conservation. The Jan Van Haaften IUGB (International Union of Game Biologists) Award for Wildlife Management in Europe was presented to members of the GWCT last month in the closing ceremony…

Cecil the lion

Cecil the lion – the real story

On 1 July 2015, an elderly 13-year-old black-maned lion, anthropomorphised by the name of Cecil, 
was legally shot but wounded in 
an area outside Hwange National 
Park in Zimbabwe. The hunter 
was an American, Dr Walter Palmer, using a bow under the guidance of professional hunter Theo Bronkhorst. 
The lion…

hen harrier

Have you seen a hen harrier?

The hen harrier has a huge global range, from Europe to Taiwan, with an estimated European population of 30,000 to 54,000 breeding pairs (BirdLife International, 2015). However, at the last national survey in 2010, the UK population was 662 breeding pairs, 505 pairs of which were in Scotland with strongholds…

Raptor Golden Eagle

Scottish shooters condemn illegal killing of raptors

The shooting community has condemned the illegal killing of birds of  prey after a new report into the disappearance of golden eagles provided strong evidence of raptor persecution over Scottish grouse moors. The Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) report followed the movements of 131 golden eagles between 2004 and 2016 and…