Grouse shooting conflict solution 'found' as season opens

A possible solution to the conflict between grouse shooters and conservationists trying to protect the hen harrier has been found, according to a new study.

The grouse shooting season gets under way today, and campaigners have been calling for the sport to be banned because of a failure to curb the illegal killing of hen harriers - the red grouse's natural predator.

However, research published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology shows that under certain conditions the birds of prey could co-exist with profitable grouse shooting.

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Potential solution to grouse shooting conflict found

The first day of the grouse shooting season is known as the "Glorious Twelfth." Credit: PA

The grouse shooting season gets underway today, to news that a solution to the conflict between shooters and hen harrier conservationist may have been found.

There have been calls from campaigners for driven grouse shooting to be banned, because of failures to combat the illegal killing of hen harriers, who prey on red grouse.

However, a new study, led by Professor Steve Redpath of the University of Aberdeen, may have found a compromise.

A model developed by the researchers shows that under certain circumstances, hen harriers could co-exist with profitable grouse shooting on UK moorlands.

According to the study, published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology, a simple solution could be to remove excess harrier chicks from an area once the bird of prey has bred to a level that has a significant economic impact on shooting, rear them in captivity and then release them into the wild elsewhere.

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