This week more than 40 gamekeepers and employers have completed the new Scottish snaring accreditation. The series of courses was run by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), in association with the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA). Others will be run throughout Scotland in the coming months. This is part of an industry-led initiative to professionalise the use of snares for necessary pest control in Scotland. The courses cover the law, forthcoming legislation, animal welfare, benefits to biodiversity and agriculture and best practice.
Alistair Mitchell, head gamekeeper for Glenlivet Estate who attended the first course at Boat of Garten, said: “The day really opened my eyes to the legislation and I know a lot of keepers who would benefit from the course.”
Gamekeeper Donnie Ross from Glenfeshie Estate, who also attended the course, said:
“It’s important to make sure we stay well within the law to keep ourselves and the estates we work on out of trouble. I would advise all keepers to attend this course. It is very informative and in my opinion very worthwhile for staying on the right side of the law.”
Will Boyd-Wallis, senior land management officer for the CNPA, said: “Snares are commonly used by a wide range of people to protect crops from rabbits and livestock from foxes. It is essential that they are correctly used to prevent unnecessary suffering and any risk to protected species. By helping to ensure land managers are aware of their legal responsibilities we can also help to protect our wildlife.”
BASC Scotland’s development officer Kenny Willmitt said: “It was extremely rewarding to see so many knowledgeable gamekeepers and land managers willing to take time out to support this accreditation course. This will hopefully give a clear message that these practitioners are taking the legal and welfare issues of snaring seriously.”
BASC Scotland, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust have collaborated to produce and provide training and accreditation in the use of snares in Scotland. These courses have been organised in advance of forthcoming legal requirements for accreditation. Each of the three organisations will be offering the training. The course takes about half a day, costs £40 per participant and includes theoretical and practical assessments. For more information and to book a place on a course please contact BASC Scotland on 01350 723226.