A rewilding project in the Highlands has met a £500,000 fundraising target with two months to spare.
Highlands Rewilding launched a three-month crowdfunding campaign last month aiming to raise £500,000 from ‘citizen rewilders’ who can invest sums from £50.
The target was reached on Hogmanay and now stands at more than £520,000.
A wider re-investment campaign aims to at least match the £7.6 million injected by 50 founding funders into the mass-ownership company.
‘Big step forward’ for rewilding campaign
Among those being targeted are ‘impact investors’, progressive financial institutions, retail investors, and banks.
Highlands Rewilding was set up by Dr Jeremy Leggett, founder of the solar energy company Solarcentury and former scientific director at Greenpeace.
He said there are now 325 investors, including the founders, 119 of whom are Scots.
“This is a big step forward, not so much because of the size of the ultimate contribution to our overall scaling-phase campaign, but because of the increasingly evident appeal of our mass-ownership model.
“Beyond our 50 founding funders, we have nearly 300 new investors and counting.
“Crucially, around a third of them are Scots, including the first citizen-rewilder sign-ups in the local communities where we work.
“That proportion will hopefully increase in the next two months, which are going to be interesting indeed.”
Where does Highlands Rewilding operate?
Highlands Rewilding bought the Bunloit Estate near Loch Ness in 2020 and later the Beldorney Estate in Aberdeenshire in 2021.
It hopes soon to extend into Argyll with the purchase of the Tayvallich Estate. It is the favoured bidder for the estate which is on the market for offers over £10,465,000.
A closing date in November had been set for the sale of Tayvallich which has attracted widespread interest.
Highlands Rewilding sees the purchase as a unique opportunity to expand the rare Atlantic temperate rainforest.
It has been given extra time to raise the asking price and become the third estate in its ambitious project.
Dr Leggett said the purpose of Highlands Rewilding is “nature recovery and community prosperity through rewilding”.
He also wants to “fight climate meltdown and biodiversity collapse while contributing to a rural green new deal”.
The founding funders include Simon Beaufoy, Oscar-winning screenwriter of Slumdog Millionaire, and world champion mountain climber Alex Honnold.
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