It’s no grouse for dogs as they help with trust sur­vey

The Oban Times - - Leisure -

AS THE Glo­ri­ous Twelfth passes, the Game and Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Trust high­lights im­por­tance of point­ing dogs for its sci­en­tific work

Point­ing dogs are an es­sen­tial part of the trust’s team when it comes to car­ry­ing out both the Spring and Sum­mer grouse counts.

In Scot­land the trust has up to eight dogs work­ing in the High­lands, and more at Langholm Moor in the Borders. The trust in to­tal has around 20 dogs work­ing across the whole of the UK.

Dr Kathy Fletcher, Se­nior Sci­en­tist, Scot­tish Up­land Re­search with the Game and Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Trust (GWCT) said: ‘ We need the dogs for our sur­veys, help­ing us in the Spring to count pairs of red grouse, and then in the Sum­mer to as­sess how well the species have bred – in par­tic­u­lar red grouse, black grouse and caper­cail­lie. These sur­veys also give us huge in­sight into the health of our moor­lands and into other species that need a healthy heather habi­tat to thrive.

‘Our dogs, pre­dom­i­nantly English Point­ers and Ir­ish Red Set­ters, will cover around 20 km per day, five days a week dur­ing our most in­tense pe­ri­ods of sur­vey ac­tiv­ity.

‘They lo­cate the birds in cover, and ‘point’ to where they are by freez­ing – head up, tail out and one foot slightly raised. ‘

The Trust is cur­rently run­ning a fundrais­ing cam­paign with a tar­get of £10,000 to cover the costs of all its point­ing dogs for one year. More in­for­ma­tion can be found at: https:// www.just­giv­ing.com/ gwct­point­ing­dogs

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