Sarah Knapton, science editor 7 AUGUST 2017 • 12:01AM
Grouse moors owners have hit back at claims that shoots harm wildlife by commissioning a report showing rare birds are thriving on their land.
Last week Chris Packham called for an end to grouse shooting labelling the sport ‘moorland vandalism’ and criticised gamekeepers for killing hen harriers - Britain’s rarest bird of prey - to prevent them from eating chicks.
The RSPB also claims that intensive land management practices, such as burning and drainage of peatlands, tracks and the use of veterinary medicines and killing of mountain hares to reduce the incidence of disease in grouse, harm wildlife.
But a new study commissioned by a dozen grouse moors, and undertaken by Newcastle and Durham Universities which surveyed 18 moorland estates across England and Scotland between April and June this year, found some birds were flourishing.