The Heritage Lottery Fund has committed almost £350,000 to help Scotland’s declining Capercaillie population.
The organisation has pledged £346,500 to the 18-month development phase of the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project (CCP), with a further £2.25 million possible for the delivery phase. Official figures put the Capercaillie population in Scotland at just 1,114 individual birds but funding from The National Lottery will hopefully change all that over the next five years.
The CCP is being hailed as an innovative and ambitious project with the potential to save the species for future generations. The CNP has the last viable populations of the species, with the Badenoch and Strathspey area being particularly significant. With that in mind, the village of Carrbridge has been chosen as a pilot community where residents will have a major say on key elements of the project, helping to work up practical ideas that can be tried and tested; successful initiatives will be replicated throughout the National Park in the future.
The five-year project will be focusing on two main areas: providing suitable, improved habitat for Capercaillie and involving the public in its future survival. Healthy habitats are extremely important, with enhanced pine forests and better connectivity, but what will be key to the project’s success is how Capercaillie and people can live together.
New jobs will be created, including a Project Manager to co-ordinate and manage the scheme and a Capercaillie Community Ranger to develop the involvement of local people. Part-time project posts will include a Communications and Interpretation Officer and a Capercaillie Advisory Officer and Assistant to deliver advice and support to landowners.