Highlands and Islands Green MSP John Finnie has called on the Scottish Government to urgently introduce a moratorium on the culling of mountain hares in the Highlands as new figures reveal the number of mountain hares in the eastern Highlands has dropped by more than 99 per cent since 1954.
Mr Finnie said:
“Scottish Ministers have repeatedly stated that they do not support mass culling of mountain hares, yet it is happening all the same.
“Minister’s calls for ‘voluntary restraint’ are being blatantly ignored and it is therefore time that strong action is taken to protect this iconic, native species.
“We’re told by cull advocates that the main reason for culling hares is to increase red grouse densities. As if shooting hares just so there are more grouse to shoot wasn’t bad enough, there is no clear evidence that mountain hare culls actually increase red grouse densities.
“As is so often the case with blood sports, the real reasons for shooting appears more about tradition than species management.
“If estates are not willing to exercise voluntary restraint, and it is clear that many aren’t, then it is imperative that the Scottish Government takes the decision out of their hands and introduces measures to protect the mountain hare.”