Shooting occurs over all of Wales including protected sites like Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Natural Resources Wales has strict targets to meet in terms of the condition of these important sites and shooting can be a real asset in helping them achieve them.
Therefore we are working with Natural Resources Wales and the RSPB on the upland SSSI called Mynydd Hiraethog in Denbighshire. The site is one of the most important for breeding waders in Wales. Although the habitat provides suitable breeding conditions for birds like curlew and lapwing, these species are not producing as many chicks as expected in certain areas. It has been suggested that predation could be responsible for this anomaly but there is currently no data on the level of predator control in the area.
Consequently BASC has been requesting information on predator control from landowners, tenants and people who shoot over the SSSI. Last year the data provided was mainly for fox control, with over 500 foxes shot. However there are still more people out there who could contribute information. Also there are areas where no control is taking place and these act as reservoirs for foxes to move out from.
One thing is clear: predator control needs to take place in a co-ordinated fashion at a landscape scale if it is to effectively reduce the impacts of predation across the SSSI.
Data will continue to be gathered, ideally using a bag return form similar those used by wildfowling clubs, in an effort to assess the level of effort being put in over certain areas in terms of man days and the number of predators killed as a result. This can then be better correlated against the main areas for which we have breeding data.
If you control predators on Mynydd Hiraethog or the land adjoining it, please use the Contact tab and get in touch. We need more information if we are to show the benefits of legal predator control for conservation.