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Cairngorms project steps up efforts to save Capercaillie amid worrying decline

A female capercaillie in a tree.
A female capercaillie in a tree.

Efforts to save the iconic capercaillie from extinction have been stepped up in the Cairngorms.

With the Cairngorms National Park now home to nearly 90% of the remaining birds, the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project has recruited a number of local residents to help protect the species.

Thanks to funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project will allow for community-led action over the next two years to help the endangered bird, of which there are now thought to be less than 1,000.

A variety of roles have been filled in recent months, from rangers to communications specialists, as the project aims to halt a worrying drop in capercaillie numbers.

Over 10,000 hectares of habitat are set to be improved as part of the project, including expanding forests, removing fences and controlling deer.

The team will also be keeping a close eye on the capercaillie population and feeding into the scientific research the project is undertaking to uncover the genetic diversity of that population.

Project manager Carolyn Robertson said: “Capercaillie are in serious decline, and in the midst of such difficult times economically as well, I’m proud that we’ve been able to bring money into the park and create jobs.

“That will not only benefit the local economy but also the environment and our local wildlife, which has become so important to our health and well-being over the last year”.

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