150: Predator Control with Barry McMahon

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The topic of lethal predator control has proven to be highly contentious. On one end of the spectrum, there are people who are inherently opposed to killing animals no matter the circumstances. On the other end are people who are eager to get on with reducing numbers, too eager perhaps. However, there are many reasons and scenarios where it might be needed. Today we focus on predator control in relation to ground-nesting birds and their precarious conservation status.

When dealing with a controversial subject like this it is important to be factual and follow the evidence. So I was delighted for the opportunity to talk about it with Barry McMahon, an Associate Professor of Wildlife Conservation & Zoonotic Epidemiology at the University College Dublin and Lecturer at the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science. At this point, I would like to thank Susan Doyle for putting me in touch with Barry after I had the pleasure to listen to her excellent presentation at the 8th Irish Ornithological Research Conference. There she discussed the need to revise approaches to the management of abundant generalist predators.

During our conversation, we not only talk about predator control but also about other human impacts on ground-nesting birds such as off-lead dogs or nest trampling by livestock. Of course, there are larger, systemic issues underneath and we didn’t shy away from discussing those as well.

Paper: European bird declines: Do we need to rethink approaches to the management of abundant generalist predators?

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