Calls for temporary ban on mountain hare culling
A temporary ban on the culling of mountain hares on grouse moors has been demanded by a coalition of Scottish wildlife organisations.
The 10 groups, including RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT), argue that reports suggest a period of “voluntary restraint” of large scale culls, called for nearly three years ago to allow research to be carried out, is being ignored.
They are appealing to the Scottish Government to introduce “urgent safeguards” to protect mountain hares, saying culls are believed to be leading to severe population declines and potentially even local extinctions.
Moorland managers say culls are sometimes necessary to limit the spread of ticks, protect trees and to maintain fragile habitats, while gamekeepers maintain that voluntary restraint is being exercised.
Calling for the ban Susan Davies, director of conservation at SWT, said: “We believe that grouse moor managers have a responsibility for this important native species.”
Organisations have urged protection for the native species.