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100 year, 18,500 acre Scottish rewilding project looks for partners

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust’s huge undertaking aims to restore habitats, reintroduce wildlife and help species recover. 

The Dalnacardoch Estate is set within the Cairngorms National Park, between Blair Atholl and Dalwhinnie. Spanning 18,500 acres, the project will take 100 years to fully realise, and is the first in Scotland to be spearheaded by the charity, founded by conservationist and author Gerald Durrell. 

In-depth environmental audits and analysis are currently underway to assess geography and biodiversity in the area. These will be used to inform the long-term strategy, with plans set to evolve as times goes on.

The interests of the wider community, and requirements for national park status, will also help direct efforts, with the overall goal of a managed transition away from the Dalnacardoch’s historic use as a sporting estate. Meanwhile, the immediate focus is on engaging with neighbours and other potential partners. 

‘This is a transformational moment in the Durrell story. The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth with a multitude of diminished species and missing ecological functions. We are proud to be a British charity and we have been looking for a landscape-scale restoration project in the UK for several years,’ said  by Lesley Dickie, Durrell’s CEO. ‘Leasing the Dalnacardoch estate offers an incredible opportunity to demonstrate our approach to conservation and transition this estate to a nature-positive landscape that will benefit both local people and wildlife.’

‘We’re delighted to be working with the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust on the long-term restoration of Dalnacardoch Estate. This collaboration will be vital in helping achieve our National Park Partnership Plan commitments, particularly around ecological restoration, net zero, woodland expansion, peatland restoration, and green skills and training,’ said
Grant Moir, Chief Executive of the Cairngorms National Park Authority. ‘It’s also encouraging that Durrell plans to work so closely with neighbouring landowners and with the local community, developing a lasting vision that reflects the unique environmental and cultural heritage of the area.’

More on rewilding and biodiversity:

MPs, peers, NGOs issue UK Government open letter on biodiversity

Nature restoration on XBox and PlayStation encourages environmental action with gamification

Agrivoltaics: The future of farming?

Image: Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

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