Under consideration PE2035: Recognise legal control of generalist predators as a conservation act

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to officially recognise legal control of abundant generalist predators as an act of conservation to help ground-nesting birds in Scotland.

Previous action taken

Writing to MSPs with responses of generalised understanding but no move towards a concrete action. Participating in forums such as The Moorland Forum and Biodiversity Action Groups for species such as Capercaillie. Liaising with NatureScot officials. Taking part in the Understanding Predation work supported by the Scottish Government.

Background information

In a Nature Emergency, legal control of generalist predators (such as foxes and crows) should be recognised as an act of conservation benefitting the survival of ground-nesting birds.

In 2010, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust published results of their science at Otterburn which compared plots where predators were legally managed and plots where they were not.

On average, lapwing, curlew, red grouse, golden plover and meadow pipit bred 3 times more successfully where legal predator control was carried out.

Reducing populations of abundant generalists can benefit many rarer and fragile prey species from waders and merlins to common scoters.

Just as the Parliament recognises habitat restoration as an act of conservation, so too, should it recognise control of generalist predators as similar. Both are important if we are to see ground nesting species survive in our landscape.


  • Created by Alex Hogg on behalf of The Scottish Gamekeepers Association
  • Considered from 27 June 2023
  • Petitions can collect signatures until the petition has been closed

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