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December 2017

West Connemara Grouse project (Ireland)


The Red Grouse in an endangered species specific to peatlands and currently Red Listed due to a 70% decline in range over the past 40 years. As human pressures and exploitation have increased, the effect on grouse populations and their habitats has been profoundly detrimental.

This project is situated in the heart of west Connemara, in a 2035 ha Natura 2000 site of the Glenaruid Mountain. It is managed by Clifden Gun Club to a plan approved by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). The lands are owned by private landowners and commonage holders and sheep are breed in several parts of it.

On these lands, the number of Red Grouse had declined to an unsustainable level. The management plan implemented for this project attempt to identify the main factors affecting local Red Grouse populations and to improve the ecological conditions for Red Grouse. This includes maintaining the distribution and diversity of heather quality, increased predator control, disturbance control, population monitoring and improving public awareness.

The members of this project were trained by the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) on the use of predator control equipment as intensive predator control is the pillar of the success of this project. Since its very beginning, Red Grouse numbers revealed a positive benefit from the management inputs. The project team put major efforts to secure the cooperation of landowners and promotes the project through local community groups.

Contact and Sources:


David Scallan, Project advisor