THERE is simply no evidence that the population of mountain hares will benefit as result of legal protection in Scotland as asserted by M Embling (HAS, Jun 23).

Mountain hares thrive on grouse moors because of how these wildlife rich upland areas of Scotland are managed. Controlling hare numbers protects the environment from over-grazing, reduces the risk of mass death through disease and is a valuable source of income for estates as a sporting quarry.

So much so that Scottish ministers have already recognised the necessity of a licensing system. This is not a win for animal welfare nor conservation, just more red tape being wrapped round successful moorland management.

If the Green Party truly wanted to help the species, they would support research examining why mountain hares fare so badly away from areas managed for grouse shooting. The success of the Peak District mountain hare population on managed moorland is a further example.

Gareth Dockerty, British Association for Shooting and Conservation regional officer, Helmsley, North Yorkshire