Date lodged: 25 May 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to establish a working group to help plan the future arrangements for sustainable management of mountain hares.
Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 3 June 2016
Under the auspices of Scotland's Moorland Forum (which represents a range of stakeholders involved in moorland management, including the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage), it has been agreed that guidance on the management of mountain hare be produced by a selected sub-group of specialists and representatives from relevant interest groups. The inaugural meeting of this sub-group took place on 23 May 2016.
The sub-group will produce and publish interim best practice guidance in the autumn. This interim guidance will be updated after the anticipated publication (in 2017) of the findings from a study being undertaken by the James Hutton Institute, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage into the most appropriate methods of assessing mountain hare numbers.
The outputs of the study will be used to standardise the method of estimating mountain hare density in conjunction with the promotion of more cooperative working between estates, thus facilitating better informed decisions on sustainable hare management at regional scale.