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Jersey conservation trust announces rewilding project

The 100-year project includes the recovery of the capercaillie.

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (DWCT) said its bold plan for the “degraded” Dalnacardoch Estate in Perthshire would leave its 18,500 acres “pulsing with life”. 

Dr Lesley Dickie, DWCT CEO, said it marked a “transformational moment” for the trust. The 100- year project includes the recovery of the capercaillie. 

Farmer and conservationist Patrick Laurie told ST that the plans are exciting for the future, but also voiced concerns about the decision to focus on capercaillie as a flagship species for habitat expansion and restoration: “A Scientific Advisory Committee paper published in 2022 explained that capercaillie already have access to tremendous amounts of suitable habitat. The greater obstacle that now restricts their recovery is productivity – not enough chicks are being reared to adulthood each year, and predation is certainly a major factor in this. 

“Expanding habitat is part of the picture, but it’s an oversimplification to argue that the creation of new woodland is enough to revive their fortunes. If the project is serious about boosting capercaillie on the estate, it’s clear that a broad engagement with some version of predator control will be crucial.” 

The project also aims to transition away from the estate’s historic use as a sporting estate, following in the footsteps of the 23,000- acre Alladale Wilderness Reserve in the Highlands, and the most famous rewilding project.