The CNPA have responded to the media coverage of the mountain hare cull http://cairngorms.co.uk/mountain-hare-cull-statement/ The response is quite predictable – as a member of staff the Director of Conservation was not in a position to launch the CNPA in new directions – but very sad. It demonstrates some of what is wrong with so-called conservation in the National Park:
- there can be no “balance of moorland species” when everything centres on grouse shooting; a balance of moorland species would see golden eagles everywhere in the Cairngorms.
- there is no need for better data; what difference does knowing the numbers of hares make except when they are being exterminated from grouse moors? Data in this case is a trap which has sent the conservation agencies off on years of research which feeds into the hunting narrative that large numbers of hares are a problem. They are not, but the lack of eagles and other predators is. Instead of requiring better data on hares before banning culls, we should be requiring numbers of eagles to rise to predicted levels before allowing any shooting.
- and just what does a “management cull” have to do with nature conservation in this case? The Park has allowed management speak from the red deer world to be used to justify killing other species which unlike deer have a number of natural predators.