Wildlife Artist Katie Hargreaves has led a host of Scottish businesses supporting an initiative which urges recognition of the importance of moorland life to the environment, wildlife and rural communities.

Families, businesses and estates launched the Support Moorland Life campaign and another 20 businesses have signed up to mark the start of the Scottish Game Fair today, Friday 24 September.

Rural businesses including Aird Motors of Beauly, Crieff-based Barkley Glass, Highland Hog Roasts of Glen Affric, Banffshire-based G & M Whyte, Glenalmond Tweed Company of Perth and Bruce Brymer Butchers of Brechin pledged their support to grouse shooting and traditional field sports which contribute £350 million to the Scottish economy, directly supporting 2,640 full-time jobs and with further benefits to the tourism sector in Scotland.

Wildlife Artist Katie Hargreaves also voiced her support for the campaign:

“The range of moorland species that I portray in my art are doing well on grouse moors because of the way that the land is managed to protect the habitat. We need to support moorland communities which ensure the uplands are kept in good condition for future generations while providing much needed jobs in rural areas. It is vital that we can see the bigger picture with conservation, not for the individual animal per se, but for the overarching population and biodiversity as a whole.”

The Support Moorland Life campaign showcases the multiple benefits to conservation and the environment from traditional moorland management.

Well-managed moorlands provide habitat for at least 57 bird species in Scotland, as well as mountain hares, reptiles, insects and amphibians.

Grouse moors are increasingly seen as centres of excellence for ground-nesting birds. Curlew, Lapwing, Oystercatcher and Golden Plover are amongst the birds thriving on grouse moors as a result of predator control and habitat management. The UK’s bird of prey population now exceeds more than 250,000 adult birds for the first time in more than a century, with well managed moorland an ideal habitat for Golden Eagles, Buzzards, Peregrine Falcons and Merlin.

Scottish moorland estates are also at the forefront of restoring peatland which has suffered from historic degradation, with 25,000 hectares restored in the past ten years. Restoring the peatland to cover any bare patches and rewet the peat enables crucial carbon sequestration.

Tim Baynes, Moorland Director at Scottish Land & Estates said: “The Scottish government’s own commissioned report showed that there is no better use of moorland for Scotland’s economy.

“Driven grouse shooting supports more jobs than any other moorland land use and does not receive any public subsidy.

“The many documented conservation benefits of grouse moors, in terms of carbon sequestration and prevention of wildfires will also become increasingly important as we face the twin challenges of climate change and species loss. We must protect the land use that delivers so much for our rural communities and the natural environment of Scotland.”

The businesses signing up to back Support Moorland Life include:

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