BASC has issued the following statement about the culling of mountain hares in Scotland:
BASC Scotland director Dr Colin Shedden said: “BASC recognises that there are a number of reasons why land managers in upland Scotland need to carry out regular or occasional culls of mountain hares.
“These include protecting vegetation from over-grazing and reducing impacts on tree regeneration. Culls are undertaken by shooting with regard to the type of firearm that can be used under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations and the close season (1 March – 31 July). These restrictions are introduced to prevent over-exploitation and for welfare reasons.
“In much of upland Scotland, the mountain hare population is either stable or increasing, and the greatest productivity and density is commonly associated with well-managed grouse moors.
“The management of mountain hares is comparable to that undertaken of native red deer, widely regarded as the most iconic animal in Scotland. The proportion of any mountain hare population that is culled, if culling is required, is less than or equal to the proportion of red deer culled on an annual basis. Scottish government has currently instructed two reviews of deer management in Scotland that are looking at means of further increasing the numbers of deer culled in some areas.”