SNH survey to gather views on management of Scotland's wildlife

Red deer stag A previous survey suggested wildlife was managed in the best interests of Scotland

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Views are to be sought on how wildlife is managed in Scotland.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has commissioned Edinburgh consultants Why Research to run an online questionnaire from 5-19 March.

Findings from focus groups held at the same time will help test the success of SNH's merger with the Deer Commission in 2010.

Research published last year suggested that SNH managed wildlife in the best interests of Scotland's people.

However, respondents also flagged up concerns for species such as red squirrels.

During that survey many people supported the reintroduction of species.

Wildlife brought back to Scotland have included red kites, white-tailed sea eagles and beavers.

However, 59 respondents who disagreed with reintroductions believed the programmes interfered with nature, or said money should not be spent on them in the current financial climate.

Earlier this month, SNH was criticised by fisherman on Barra over plans for a Special Area of Conservation to protect marine life in the Sound of Barra.

The fishermen have said the designation would restrict access to fisheries.

'Increased responsibilities'

Scotland's Moorland Forum and Mountaineering Council of Scotland has highlighted the forthcoming survey to its members.

SNH said the questionnaire was primarily aimed at individuals and organisations with a direct interest or involvement in wildlife management activities.

This could include gamekeepers, farmers, stalkers and recreational shooters.

A spokesman said: "Wildlife management in Scotland is hugely topical.

"We now have many and increased responsibilities in relation to it, including new roles on deer and licensing, providing information on best practice, invasive non-native animals and species introductions.

"It's important that we provide a service that best meets the needs of our customers."

He added: "As well as a survey it will involve a series of focus groups amongst members of these bodies.

"The findings will also help us test and report to the Scottish Parliament on how successful our merger with the Deer Commission for Scotland in 2010 is judged to have been."

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