New action for capercaillie in the Deeside Forest

Residents, visitors and people who work in Royal Deeside are currently being invited by the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project to help deliver more local action for capercaillie. There are thought to be less than 1,000 capercaillie left in the UK. Almost all the birds live in the Cairngorms National Park and are now predicted to be extinct by 2040 unless more urgent action is taken.

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and led by the Cairngorms National Park Authority, the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project recently found that almost all residents and visitors to Royal Deeside feel that capercaillie in the Deeside Forest should be protected for future generations to enjoy. The survey completed by over 760 Deeside residents and visitors also revealed that almost all feel fortunate that capercaillie, the World’s largest grouse, still lives in the Deeside Forest and even if they never see the iconic bird, it is important to them that they exist in the area.

Driven by this strength of feeling, residents and visitors to Royal Deeside – including businesses, land managers, mountain bikers, conservation volunteers, Rangers and mountaineering interests – attended an open workshop last month in Ballater, hosted by the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project, to discuss and refine actions to deliver locally to help the bird.

Carolyn Robertson, Project Manager for the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project said “We’re really excited to be able to respond to the strong consensus that exists in Royal Deeside. It’s clear that people care about capercaillie in the area and, by listening to several hundred residents and visitors to Royal Deeside, we’ve been able to identify areas of common ground which we will now facilitate action around to help improve the fortunes of capercaillie locally. To help guide and deliver this work on the ground we’re really keen to hear from anyone who lives, works or visits Royal Deeside and would like to get involved.”

Areas for action include enabling more responsible enjoyment of the Deeside Forest to reduce human disturbance in areas critical for capercaillie; enabling more people to get involved in delivering practical action to help the bird; improving and expanding the Deeside Forest to give capercaillie more space to thrive; and marking and removing fences to reduce the risk of collisions.

Although low in number, the capercaillie population in Royal Deeside may potentially be a genetic lifeline to the larger capercaillie population in Badenoch and Strathspey. Work in the Deeside area is therefore an essential part of building a future for capercaillie in the UK. To find out more about and to get involved, visit  



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Cairngorms Capercaillie Project

The Cairngorms Capercaillie Project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and led by the Cairngorms National Park Authority, is the coming together of a wider range of people in the Cairngorms National Park to help secure the long-term survival of capercaillie in the UK. It’s possible that there are now less than 1,000 capercaillie left in the UK and almost all of them live in the Cairngorms National Park. Action in the National Park is therefore critical to prevent extinction in the UK.

National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, the National Lottery Heritage Fund inspires, leads and resources the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA)

The Cairngorms National Park was established in 2003. It is the UK’s largest national park at 4,528 sq km. The CNPA was set up to ensure that the unique aspects of the Cairngorms – both the natural environment and the local communities – are cared for, sustained and enhanced for current and future generations to enjoy. The CNPA provides leadership to all those involved in the Cairngorms and works in partnership with a range of communities, businesses, non-government organisations and public sector partners to deliver practical solutions on the ground.

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