Scottish Greens have won protection for Scotland’s Mountain Hares after the Scottish Government agreed to back Alison Johnstone’s amendment to the Wildlife bill.
Mountain hare populations have declined considerably since the 1950s, with an average of 26,000 killed every year in recreational killing and mass killing on grouse moors. Last year the species conservation status was downgraded to ‘unfavourable’ after EU data exposed the decline.
Scottish Government ministers came under incredible pressure after a Scottish Greens petition garnered over 22,500 signatures in just a few days. The consultation for Alison Johnstone’s proposed member’s bill on the same issue also saw overwhelming support for the move.
Responding, Alison Johnstone said: “I’m delighted the Scottish Government has finally given into pressure to protect this iconic native species. This has come about because of the overwhelming public support for my amendment, for which I am very grateful.
“The sheer volume of interventions from those defending our wildlife was impossible to ignore, and saw off pressure from the grouse-shooting lobby, who once again attempted to undermine the evidence by claiming that killing these animals also protects them.
“The aspirations of this bill have been lifted by the Scottish Greens and I’m hopeful Scottish Government will see fit to take action to better protect more of our key species.”