“The eradication of mountain hares in eastern & southern Scotland is disgraceful”

Roy Dennis with AlmaFollowing last week’s Out of Doors programme on BBC Radio Scotland, which included an unchallenged interview with Dr Adam Smith of the GWCT who was trying very hard to justify mountain hare culls on grouse moors – see here [comment #8], we were pleased to hear the subject raised again on this week’s show, this time with someone with an opposing view.

That someone was conservationist Roy Dennis, probably best known for his involvement in several raptor reintroduction and satellite-tracking projects (visit his two websites here and here).

It’s a good, well-rounded interview. Whilst he recognises that there may, in some instances, be a requirement for local culling (to protect young trees), he doesn’t buy into the argument that the widespread mass culling of hares is beneficial for controlling disease in red grouse and he describes the eradication of mountain hares in eastern and southern Scotland [on grouse moors] as “disgraceful”.

He talks about the sustainable hare population on one Highland sporting estate where he has been providing ecological advice for a number of years (proabably Coignafearn Estate – one of the few that doesn’t kill hares –  see here) and welcomes SNH’s call for land managers to exercise ‘voluntary restraint’, although he thinks SNH struggled to get that through against opposition from landowners and GWCT. Roy’s own recommendation to SNH and the Government had been for a voluntary two-year moratorium on all mountain hare culling, allowing time for an assessment of the species’ conservation status and the impact of long-term, widespread culls.

Roy doesn’t agree with the calls for a ban on the shooting of mountain hares. Others disagree and a petition has been launched, calling for exactly that. See here.

Roy’s interview can be heard here for another month. [Starts at 16:04]

The photograph shows Roy with young golden eagle ‘Alma’, hatched on the Glenfeshie Estate in 2007 and satellite-tracked by Roy. She was found dead on the Millden Estate two years later. She’d been poisoned.

9 Responses to ““The eradication of mountain hares in eastern & southern Scotland is disgraceful””

  1. January 17, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    It is time to put an end to the moorland terrorists, destroying ecosystems for raising gun fodder and profit. The shooting of game birds by driving them to destruction is prehistoric (where it should remain), unnecessary and cruel. Stone age man did it to sustain themselves but now the sick rich do it for FUN!

  2. January 17, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    What sort of destructive people are these landowners and GWCT if they had to persuaded with such difficulty to agree to exercise ‘voluntary restraint’ –something which can be ignored with impunity?
    We have dangerous custodians of our environment, wishing to be allowed to do whatever they like.

  3. January 17, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Hello, we have lived and worked here in the North East of Scotland for over 60 years and know the wild mountain hares well although it is wise to regulate numbers I would never agree to a complete cull or to reduce numbers by large amounts we must preserve what we have for the future it always seems MONEY talks big absent land owners do not give a damn they only want the money,

    • 4 Mike
      January 17, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      “it is wise to regulate numbers” ,? could you explain that one Ian? I ‘d far rather see a few golden eagles controlling their numbers.

  4. 5 crol
    January 17, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Yes surely fox and egle could control numbers.none even to be seen hre hill pentlands.yet fife diet listed them under suggested food.keyboard play ing up.

  5. 6 Val Badger
    January 17, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    I agree with Mike that Ian’s comment is a bit puzzling. if the raptors weren’t persecuted almost to extinction they would be helping to keep the ecosystem in balance.

  6. 7 Dave Dick
    January 17, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    You might as well call for a two year moratorium on raptor killing – these people arent listening, they know it all…Ban Driven Grouse Shooting..this is yet another reason why its needed.

  7. 9 Harris Keillar
    February 16, 2016 at 11:12 am

    As others have said let foxes and raptors – maybe even lynx if we’re lucky, control their numbers.

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