An experimental cull of ravens in Strathbraan in Highland Perthshire has come to an abrupt halt only months after starting.
Scottish Natural Heritage, which licenced the cull has seemingly caved in to pressure groups including a crowd funded challenge lodged with the Court of Session.
BBC presenter Chris Packham has been a vocal objector to the plan which would have seen 69 ravens culled this year and 300 in total over five years in a bid to protect waders.
SNH had issued a licence to the Strathbraan Community Collaboration for Waders (SCCW) to reduce the impact the ravens have on nesting waders in the Perthshire glen. They are also known to attack lambs but this was not part of the study.
However, following the furore SNH commissioned its Scientific Advisory Committee to review the methodology of the study.
The committee said it was inadequate to provide robust scientific conclusions. The SCCW is reported to have voluntarily suspended the cull until revised monitoring arrangements were in place.
A specific Scientific Advisory Group will now be created to assist the project and will include members from the SNH Scientific Advisory Committee, the British Trust for Ornithology and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.
Professor Des Thompson, principal scientific adviser on science and biodiversity at SNH said: “Populations of curlew and lapwing in Scotland have more than halved over the past 20 years.
"We are rapidly reaching crisis point and we need to take action. After all, the curlew is one of our most rapidly declining of all our breeding bird species in the UK.
“We need to learn from this trial, and the experience and knowledge gained, and move on to develop advice and support for action on the ground to benefit waders.”