Shropshire Star

GWCT Shropshire raises more than £65k for research and lobbying work

GWCT Shropshire has bounced into much needed post Covid fund-raising action, achieving more than £65k for research and lobbying work, thanks to members and friends.

Shropshire Star farming column columnist Charlotte Marrison BSc (Hons) MRICS FAAV. Charlotte Marrison, chairman of Shropshire Branch of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (as from late 2019)........

This was spread over two events, the fabulous and colourful Mad March Hare Ball and the generously supported Shropshire Shoot Raffle.

An excellent and timely example of this is the GWCT’s booklet “Conserving Our Woodcock: Research-based measures to help the UK’s resident population,” distils the GWCT’s 50 years of woodcock research into practical guidance on how to provide the varied habitat woodcock require.

It came at a time when Defra was being urged to consider introducing a legal ban on the shooting of woodcock until after November.

As it would happen many shoots already choose to show restraint until December, if they shoot them at all.

However, Conserving Our Woodcock’s authors argue that, until more data on the current state of the resident population is available, a legal change to the start of the woodcock shooting season is unlikely to help and may damage woodcock conservation.

Dr Andrew Hoodless, GWCT Director of Research and leading authority on woodcock, explains: “GWCT and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) will be conducting a repeat of 2013s national Breeding Woodcock Survey in 2023.

This will provide an up-to-date population. It would be sensible to wait for the results before considering a statutory change to the woodcock season”

Much of the justification for a sustainable harvest of woodcock is based on the benefits of woodland being retained and managed by shoots to support the species.

Enforcing a shorter season now risks alienating them and impacting woodcock conservation efforts.

Our £65,000, invested in scientific research enables a strong stance in the harvesting of much-needed statistics to present to Defra.

Charlotte Marrison, GWCT Shropshire Branch Chairman

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