The Queen has been urged to step in and stop her estate in Scotland from killing hundreds of mountain hares in the wake of new evidence of mass culls in the Cairngorms.
Delnadamph, which is part of Her Majesty’s Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire, has been accused of working with neighbouring estates to shoot large numbers of hares. Two culls involving three estates were witnessed towards the end of February, one of which was said to have killed 500 hares.
The allegations have been made by the veteran Cairngorm scientist, Dr Adam Watson, who says he has reliable accounts from eyewitnesses and other informed sources. The two alleged culls are in addition to the mass killing suggested by a photograph of a pickup truck full of dead hares on the Lecht published by The Ferret and others.
“In each case, a brutal military-type operation occurred, with scores of quad bikes and snow scooters driving the hares up to armed staff hidden higher up, and frequent bangs from guns,” Watson said.
“These severe killings show no respect for the public or for wildlife under stress during snowy weather.”
Landowners insist that shooting hares is perfectly legal, and doesn’t jeopardise their populations. But Watson argues that mass killings are in breach of European law because they are indiscriminate and damage the animals’ conservation status.