The Park Authority is helping to fund a project to control Greylag geese that are causing issues for farmers in the Cairngorms National Park. This will see professional geese controllers contracted to help reduce numbers in key areas.

The problems associated with too many resident greylag geese include over grazing on spring grass and winter barley as well as the trampling of crops – all of which are having a negative impact on farming businesses, particularly in Strathspey.

Following an assessment of greylag geese numbers in late August, a cull of the resident population will begin in the Strathspey area of the National Park in September.

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Colin McClean, Head of Land Management at the Cairngorms National Park Authority explained: “With very few natural predators, the resident greylag population in the Strathspey area of the Cairngorms National Park has steadily grown. A count of the population last month found more than 460 birds, but we know there are more over a wider area. These numbers cause significant damage to farms.

“At a Farmers Forum meeting earlier in the year, geese were identified as one of the top five issues impacting farming enterprises, so the Park Authority has taken the decision to support a cull of these geese.

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“Greylags are plentiful in number here, with an excellent food source available on the Park’s farms. To be clear this is not about eradicating greylag geese but managing numbers to ensure an appropriate balance within the area.”

Culling starts this month and will carry on at varying levels through the winter and into the spring, with efforts mostly concentrated in periods when only resident greylags are present.