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New lek data reveals challenges for capercaillie - Cairngorms National Park Authority

Lekking capercaillie (Mark Hamblin)
Lekking capercaillie (Mark Hamblin)

New Scottish capercaillie lek data suggests that the capercaillie population is in decline and more needs to be done to build a future for the species, according to papers to go before the board of the Cairngorms National Park Authority next week.

Factors affecting capercaillie include lack of habitat, low productivity, predation, collisions with unmarked fences, disturbance, climate change and possibly low genetic diversity in the remaining population. Many of these issues are faced by the species across Europe, where similar declines are being witnessed.

At the CNPA Board meeting next Friday (11 June), capercaillie feature in the organisation’s Strategic Risk Management and Monitoring Corporate Performance report as well as the Cairngorms Nature Action Plan 2019-2022 mid-term update. Both reports detail progress across a range of activities and projects in the Park.

Grant Moir, Chief Executive at the CNPA explained: “Capercaillie are a key species that indicate the health and connectedness of our native pine woodlands. They are also a good indicator of whether we have the right balance that allows people and nature to thrive together. Expert opinion in the 1990s was that the population trajectory for caper in Scotland would lead to extinction of the bird by around 2010. That did not happen and this shows that the work of various caper projects over those two decades had a real impact. However, declines in the last six years indicates that this bird remains at risk."

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