Landmark report reveals the impact of gamebird releasing - Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

With millions of pheasants and partridges released into the countryside each year, what impact are they having? That’s the question answered in a landmark report from leading conservation charity the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT).

Using over 140 scientific papers and reports as the basis for its findings, the report studies the ecological consequences of released birds and their management on a range of factors – from hedgerows and lichens to invertebrates and songbirds. The 52-page report is freely available to read at

As the most common quarry in the UK, pheasants are synonymous with shooting and, for much of the public, that’s where the interest ends. For other s, however, the debate on releasing pheasants and partridges for shooting has gained exposure in the past few years.

The authors, Dr Rufus Sage and Dr Roger Draycott, highlight how studies show management for these popular gamebirds can help songbird numbers, supports the planting of hedgerows and can help butterflies and bees to thrive on woodland edges, but also highlight the potential for negative impacts such as disease and damage to soil and invertebrates within release pens and how these can be reduced by following best practice guidelines.

Roger Draycott, Director of Advisory and Education at the GWCT, is hopeful that the report will prompt an open and balanced discussion on releasing and what those involved can do to make more of their efforts.

Read the report here

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Posted On: 17/11/2021

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