Despite its beauty and drama, Scotland has become a nature-depleted nation. Our natural woodlands cover just 4% of their original range, many species that were once prolific now teeter on the edge, and others have been hunted to extinction.
But it’s time to rewrite nature’s story. SCOTLAND: The Big Picture DREAM is a vision for a future where abundance and diversity of life is returned to Scotland’s land and seas, to benefit nature, climate and people. It’s called ‘rewilding’.
The green shoots of rewilding are already emerging. In places, young forests are on the march, sea eagles are once again soaring high, ospreys and pine martens have bounced back, and beavers are rejuvenating Scotland’s wetlands.
- Scotland’s national bird has made a comeback thanks to a successful breeding programme at the Dundreggan rewilding estate in Glenmoriston. A pair of golden eagles has bred and successfully raised a chick in the Scottish Highlands for the first time in 40 years – five years after Trees for Life and conservationist Roy Dennis MBE of the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation set up a nest (otherwise dubbed an ‘eyrie’) to entice the raptors back.
- A campaign has been launched to protect Scotland’s native wild beavers, which are at risk during the Autumn shooting season. The baby beavers are officially seen as no longer dependent on their mothers from 17 August – meaning farmers with unwanted beavers on their land can again apply for licences to shoot them. Last year, 87 beavers, a fifth of the Scottish population, were shot. There are fears the scale of the killing could be replicated this year but experts say each beaver shot is a wasted life that could have helped to rewild Scotland.
- Trees for Life has been asking people across the Highlands to report sightings of red squirrels for the Great Scottish Squirrel Survey this September. The rewilding charity wants to increase sightings of the animals across the region during the week and beyond – whether in gardens, local communities or in woodlands. Thanks to its pioneering red squirrel reintroduction project– which so far has relocated reds to nine Highland woodlands from which they have been missing for decades – there are now increasing opportunities to spot the much-loved mammals in the region. Sightings are also important for the reintroduction project’s long-term success.
Find out more at www.treesforlife.org.uk
Picture: Golden Eagle by Mark Hamblin, SCOTLAND: The Big Picture