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Wildlife Management: A Shared Approach

Wildlife Management: A Shared Approach sets out ways of working which a range of organisations will adopt to deliver effective wildlife management across Scotland. This shared approach recognises the need to work in partnership and that we all have responsibility (legal, social and moral) to manage wildlife as a shared resource

Why have we signed up?

Wildlife management is integral to conservation management, farming, forestry, and tourism in Scotland. It can be contentious, especially where lethal control is involved. Wildlife management affects us all in different ways but we have a common view on the need to work together. We need to help others understand the, sometimes difficult, decisions we need to make and find ways to have open conversations with those who may oppose some aspects of wildlife management.  We understand that collectively we need to tackle the difficult wildlife management issues facing us and ensure that Scotland’s wildlife is truly celebrated and valued.

What difference will this make in practice?

A shared approach takes commitment, discipline, and continuous effort to implement. It means checking assumptions and taking a cross-sectoral and cross-organisational approach. The shared approach will enable safe spaces to have difficult conversations and address the tension through mediation, negotiation, compromise, and discussion. The shared approach will provide the anchor for these discussions and actions.

Shared Ways of Working

Wildlife management is about interactions between nature and with people.  It is defined as:

‘the deliberate and targeted intervention by people to change the population, structure or distribution of wild species, particularly terrestrial mammals and birds’.

Working Together

  • Managing wildlife is the responsibility of everyone with a direct and indirect interest in Scotland’s land.
  • We will take a partnership approach to delivering wildlife management at a local and national scale.

Balanced Approach

  • We manage wildlife to balance environmental, social and economic objectives.
  • We recognise that sometimes one objective will take precedence over others (e.g. food production, forestry, renewables, conservation). This is acceptable provided it doesn’t jeopardise future options.

Connecting Knowledge

  • We will develop a shared understanding of the ways in which people and wildlife interact.
  • We will strive to ensure that data (e.g. survey data, habitat impact assessment data) relating to wildlife management is open, transparent and easy to access.
  • We will draw on a wide knowledge base and ensure decisions are based on robust information, while advocating the precautionary principle.

Communicating Clearly

  • We will help encourage people to understand the decisions, sometimes difficult, that need to be made in wildlife management.
  • We will strive to communicate clear messages about why wildlife is managed.

Safeguard wildlife welfare [1]

  • We will mitigate any negative impacts on welfare, at a population and individual level.
  • We will adopt best practice in promoting and safeguarding welfare.


  • We recognise that wildlife populations are dynamic and respond to changes in land uses, natural events and public policy and that wildlife management needs to adapt to these changes.
  • We work within a legal framework for wildlife management, however we recognise that this can and does change based upon knowledge of numbers and impacts.

Added value

  • We will seek opportunities to add value to wildlife management activities e.g. local butchers in Orkney sell geese culled through the management schemes, feeding Sea Eagles to generate wildlife tourism opportunities on Mull.
  • We will seek to deliver and recognise multiple benefits to widen the impact of the primary objective e.g. deer stalking provides jobs in rural areas, active recreational opportunities, venison and reduces impacts on the environment.

[1] SNH Position Statement on Wildlife Welfare



Who are we?

We have all pledged to support and adopt this approach:

  • Association of Deer Management Groups
  • British Association for Shooting and Conservation
  • British Deer Society
  • Cairngorms National Park Authority
  • Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust
  • National Farmers Union Scotland
  • National Trust for Scotland
  • Royal Society for the Protection for Birds
  • Scottish Association for Country Sports
  • Scottish Countryside Alliance
  • Scottish Gamekeepers Association
  • Scottish Land and Estates
  • Nature Scot
  • Scotland’s Rural College
  • The Woodland Trust