Date lodged: 3 November 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the effectiveness of mountain hare culling as a management technique for louping ill in red grouse, and what advice is given to land managers in this regard.
Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 18 November 2016
The Scottish Government recognises that mountain hares may need to be controlled for land management purposes, but does not support large-scale culls of mountain hares.
The advice from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to land managers is that large-scale culls of mountain hares to reduce tick loads and therefore the incidence of Louping Ill, in order to benefit grouse and other bird survival, are ineffective except in the highly unlikely circumstance that all other tick hosts are absent. SNH aims to work with land managers to put in place effective and sustainable management of mountain hares that is consistent with the species’ status on Annex V of the EC Habitats Directive.