With the GWCT Scottish Game Fair just one week away, it’s time to highlight the remarkable work being carried out by this vital charity here in Scotland. From policy advocacy to ground-breaking research, the GWCT is at the forefront of protecting Scotland’s diverse wildlife and ecosystems. If you’re attending the fair, be sure to carve out some time to visit GWCT’s central exhibit, where you can engage with their dedicated staff and discover how you can contribute to their invaluable efforts.
GWCT’s policy work spans a wide range of critical areas, including grouse moor licensing, agriculture, land reform, predator control, snaring, carbon auditing, and land management planning for GWSDF Auchnerran. Their relentless efforts aim to strike a balance between sustainable land use practices and wildlife conservation.
The GWCT in Scotland is also actively involved in funding and supporting the development of a new vaccine against the tick-borne disease, louping ill, in collaboration with the esteemed Moredun Research Institute. This ground-breaking initiative has the potential to significantly protect Scotland’s wildlife and livestock from the devastating effects of this disease.
The GWCT’s Best Practice with Proof initiative continues to evolve, prioritising the development and implementation of mobile and app-based monitoring systems for species and habitats on farmland and upland regions. Through their innovative use of tools like Epicollect, GWCT Advisory is revolutionising data collection and analysis, enhancing the effectiveness of conservation efforts across Scotland.
Recent upland research conducted by staff from the GWCT has shed light on critical areas such as tick infestations on grouse chicks and the monitoring of mountain hare populations. By delving into these pressing issues, the GWCT is equipping themselves with insights to aid the development of future conservation strategies.
GWCT’s lowland research projects at GWSDF Auchnerran have been ongoing since 2015 and encompass a wide array of subjects. These projects include monitoring red squirrels, bumblebees, game species (such as hare, woodcock, pheasant, and partridge), raptors, rabbits, corvids, mammalian predators, ticks on sheep, soil invertebrates and birds. With a keen focus on farmland birds, particularly wader species, and vegetation monitoring, GWCT ensures that their conservation efforts address the needs of various species and habitats.
Auchnerran’s farm management alternatives and regenerative farming methods, such as mob grazing, direct drilling, and herbal leys, are now a focus of GWCT’s work. These innovative practices are explored to evaluate their impact on biodiversity, enabling GWCT to provide practical recommendations to farmers and land managers for sustainable land use.
The PARTRIDGE project at Balgonie, Fife, has recently concluded, leaving behind a long-lasting legacy in the form of the Pepsico FAB (Farming Arable Biodiversity) Project. This ongoing initiative encompasses six farms in Angus and Fife, including Balgonie, and ensures that the lessons learned continue to benefit Scotland’s arable biodiversity.
Rory Kennedy, Director Scotland at GWCT, emphasises the importance of their work, stating: “Producing world-class conservation research in Scotland is central to our objectives, blending this with coherent policy and pragmatic advisory services. Communicating this work to members, practitioners, policymakers, and the wider public is crucial.”
To discover more about GWCT’s projects and current areas of focus, visit their central exhibit at The GWCT Scottish Game Fair, which is located between the Main Ring and Gunmakers’ Row. Their knowledgeable staff will be available to chat and learn how you can actively contribute to the conservation of Scotland’s remarkable wildlife and landscapes.