Interim results from a wildlife study from Bournemouth University show that walkers and dog walkers can disturb waterfowl more frequently than wildfowling activities.
The study, not yet fully completed, was commissioned by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and aims to measure the relative effects of a range of activities in Poole Harbour. The estuary provides habitat for many bird species, such as godwits, wigeon, teal and avocets. The study has found that walkers and dog walkers account for approximately two-thirds of recreational activity on estuaries.
Catherine Collop, the researcher at Bournemouth University said: “Disturbance is the hot topic in conservation. I hope that my work can allow managers to make evidence-based decisions.”
“This is ground-breaking research that could revolutionise the way in which key wildfowling and waterbird sites are regulated,” said Mark Greenhough, BASC wildfowling officer.
The study is on track for completion by the end of 2015.