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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