The majority of the Scottish public supports the rewilding of national parks

In an opinion poll commissioned by the Scottish Rewilding Alliance, 74 per cent of Scots supported a call by the organization for nature restoration to be the primary purpose of the country’s national parks.

In February this year, the Scottish Government’s nature agency, NatureScot, advised ministers to create wilder national parks and the new poll shows public support for the move.

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Steve Micklewright, Chair of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance and Chief Executive of the rewilding charity Trees for Life, said: “We are calling on the Government to listen to their Nature Agency and the people of Scotland and to make restoring nature a key purpose of our national parks.

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“This would ensure that these important areas can make a greater contribution to Scotland becoming the world’s first rewilding nation – a place where nature and people can thrive – and meeting the Government’s commitment of 30% of Scotland by 2030 to protect nature.”

Scotland’s two national parks, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms, were declared 20 years ago with plans in the works to designate a third.

The transition to a greater focus on rewilding to address the overlapping natural and climate emergencies is urgently needed, the alliance said.

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Mr Micklewright added: “Our national parks have the potential to be at the forefront of restoring functioning, thriving ecosystems to Scotland, a country that is currently one of the most naturally depleted in the world.

“Wilder national parks would offer more opportunities for people to live and work in them, including through more sustainable livelihoods, while visitors would be able to see more of Scotland’s remarkable wildlife and habitats as species and landscapes begin to recover.”

NatureScot’s advice to ministers included introducing new legislation to make restoring nature and tackling climate change the overarching purpose of Scotland’s national parks.

The organization recommended the development of a “national declaration” to provide clear political direction for the future of national parks, their purpose and goals.

His report also said that “a fundamental shift in ambition and leadership from national park authorities” is needed, “with the funding to work at the pace needed to deliver results”.

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Of added importance is ensuring that communities, third sector organisations, and the public and private sectors are involved in creating a positive future for Scotland’s national parks.

The Scottish Government has been asked for comment.

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance is a collaboration of more than 20 organizations sharing a mission to enable rewilding on a scale unprecedented in Scotland. The majority of the Scottish public supports the rewilding of national parks

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