POLL: Should geese who ravage crops be culled?

POLL: Should geese who ravage crops be culled?

MORE than 700 greylag geese are to be shot in the Outer Hebrides and turned into burgers in a bid to stop the birds ravaging crofters’ crops.

The three-year pilot project to manage the goose population of Lewis and Harris – approved by Scottish Natural Heritage – is activated today.

The trial aims to reduce agricultural damage crofters and farmers experience by reducing the size of the greylag goose population in a controlled and co-ordinated way.

POLL: Should geese who ravage crops be culled?
The greylag goose is one of the species to which the ”Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds” applies.

The shooting will continue until August 31, after which it will pause for progress to be reviewed.

A spokesman for SNH said: “Work will be undertaken by a team of experienced volunteer shooters, operating under licence and following established best practice methods.

“Our initial target is for an additional 700 geese to be shot this autumn, as we aim to deliver a significant population reduction by April 2017.”

The management pilot, now in its third year, has been developed by a local goose management group with support from SNH and the Scottish Government’s Rural Inspections and Payments Department.

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The goose population will be controlled to prevent crops from being destroyed – Photo by Getty

Similar projects are underway on Uist, Coll and Tiree, as well as in Orkney where growing populations of greylag geese have caused significant damage to crops.

Since SNH began an annual count on Lewis and Harris in 2010 numbers have increased by more than 45 per cent, and it now estimates the population to be in the order of 5,850 birds.

The project also trials the sale of goose meat under licence.

This article was first published by The Express on 31 Jul 2016.

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