At the brink

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THE Scottish Gamekeepers Ass­ociation’s idea to make 2014 into the Year of the Wader is a good one (your report, 1 November).

Anyone who spends time in the uplands will thrill to the burbling call of the curlew as it returns to nest in early spring, but this could soon become a sound of the past.

Curlew and lapwing are dec­lining rapidly in many parts of Scotland, but one of their remaining breeding strongholds are managed grouse moors and valuable lessons must be learned from the way that keepering work helps wader breeding­success.

The science is not disputed and the practical knowledge is there – we just need to make it happen on a larger scale.

Land managers, scientists and conservation bodies all want to help waders, and there are initiatives such as Wader Friendly Farming, but it could be given a real boost by government through new agri-environment measures.

The Year of the Wader 2014 could be the catalyst for a “wader taskforce” made up of all those organisations to promote a real sense of urgency and prevent an unfolding environmental disaster.

Tim Baynes

Scottish Moorland Group

Eskmills

Musselburgh, East Lothian

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