The Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association has criticised the capercaillie plan for making little mention of predator impact on the population.
A spokesperson has intimated the severity of predation on the declining populace, saying: “The inability of conservationists to grasp the nettle on this is like a group of people trying to rescue their dinner while the house is on fire. Millions have been spent in removing deer fences and improving forest habitat, yet the decline of capercaillie continues. Our understanding, from speaking to workers on the ground is that the numbers may be as low as 400… On 20 video monitored nests in Abernethy Forest, 65 per cent of nests were found to be predated, 57 per cent of those by pine marten.”
But many groups have spoken up against pine marten translocation, despite the potential for capercaillie revival. The spokesperson continued: “Attempts by groups opposing such a trial to blacken a legitimate conservation attempt should not be allowed to detract from the fact that avoiding a second extinction requires more than is presently being done.”