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Durrell Wildlife Trust’s Ambitious Expansion: Reviving Scottish Estate to Preserve Endangered Species

Durrell Wildlife Trust’s Ambitious Expansion: Reviving Scottish Estate to Preserve Endangered Species

The rewilding project on Dalnacradoch estate in Scotland marks a transformational moment for Durrell Wildlife Trust and aims to address the nature depletion in the UK.

The UK is among the most nature-depleted countries, with diminished species and missing ecological functions.

In a significant development for conservation efforts, Durrell Wildlife Trust, based in Jersey, has announced its first rewilding project in Scotland. Dr. Lesley Dickie, the CEO of Durrell, described this endeavor as a “transformational moment” for the trust. Recognizing the nature depletion in the UK, she emphasized the urgent need to restore and protect ecosystems.

The project involves leasing the “degraded” Dalnacradoch estate, located within the Cairngorms National Park. Dr. Dickie referred to this opportunity as “incredible” and highlighted the potential to create a “nature-positive landscape” that benefits both local communities and wildlife. This initiative aims to reverse the decline of species and restore ecological functions.

Durrell Wildlife Trust brings with it six decades of experience in saving species from extinction and rebuilding ecosystems, according to Prof. Carl Jones MBE, the trust’s chief scientist. He expressed excitement about restoring the plant and animal communities of Dalnacardoch, envisioning a vibrant landscape filled with bird song and teeming with life. One of the primary goals of the project is to recover the capercaillie, a bird facing extinction in Scotland.

In addition to ecological restoration, the project aims to transition away from the estate’s historic use as a sporting estate. The trust envisions activities that provide economic, social, and environmental benefits to the region. Ecological audits are already underway, and the team’s immediate focus is on engaging with neighboring estates and potential partners.

Grant Moir, the chief executive of the Cairngorms National Park Authority, has emphasized the vital role of collaboration in achieving ecological restoration, woodland expansion, and the goal of net zero emissions.

The Dalnacradoch estate was purchased earlier this year by a family foundation with charitable aims, specifically intending to lease it to Durrell for this rewilding project.

This ambitious project by Durrell Wildlife Trust marks a significant step towards addressing the nature depletion in the UK. By restoring and revitalizing ecosystems, the trust aims to create a nature-positive landscape that benefits both wildlife and local communities. Through collaboration and ecological restoration, this rewilding project has the potential to bring back biodiversity and ensure a sustainable future for Scotland’s natural heritage.

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