Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Backlash over plans to shoot goats of Inversnaid

The goats of Inversnaid on the banks of the beauty spot's shores are said to have helped shelter Robert the Bruce as he fled his enemies – and to hold a valuable genetic record of an ancient breed.

But now the area's conservationist landowner, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has caused controversy by demanding they be shot.

The proposal has sparked a backlash from local people, tourist operators and goat experts.

Most of the herd on the charity's 2000-acre Inversnaid nature reserve on the east shore of Loch Lomond, through which runs the West Highland Way, is to be shot to protect woodland.

The RSPB says it has no choice after Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) told it a woodland SSSI – a site of special scientific interest – in the reserve was in decline, and goat browsing was blamed.

Opponents say the cull, taking the herd of more than 60 down to just 30, is too severe and could damage tourism. The British Feral Goat Research Group fears the herd could die out as a result.

The local Strathard Community Council believes the RSPB has not adequately recognised the goats' importance.

It told the society: "The historic Inversnaid goats need protection too, in order to ensure that the herd continues to be viable."

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