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Conservation partnership urges Minister to rethink risky goose cull

18 December 2014

Responding to SNH’s announcement on the goose management strategy, and speaking on behalf of RSPB Scotland and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, said: “This Scottish Government and NFUS scheme proposes to reduce the population of a protected wild bird species, which breeds in Greenland and migrates to spend the winter each year on Islay, by 25-30% through shooting. 

"We believe that the evidence base on which that cull is proposed is fundamentally inadequate. We fully acknowledge that grazing geese sometimes affect agricultural operations, but past experience on Islay has shown that, with barnacle goose numbers at their current stable level on the island, less destructive means of managing those impacts are available, and moreover will be, at least in the shorter term, cheaper for the taxpayer. Scotland has international obligations towards our wildlife, and the barnacle goose is specially protected under EU conservation law. We urge the Minister to reconsider this risky decision. The spectacle of the geese on Islay is itself an economic benefit to tourism operators on the island, and we fear this 'cull' will deter birdwatchers from visiting.”

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