Scientist claims the Capercaillie is on brink of extinction in Scotland.

ONE of Scotland’s most famous birds is on the brink of extinction, a leading expert on the species has warned. The number of Capercaillie has fallen by more than half and the amount of birds left could be as low as 700. Dr Robert Moss, the UK’s leading authority on Capercaillie, blames the potentially catastrophic decline on human encroachment onto the large grouse’s natural habitat combined with Scotland’s changing weather patterns.


Capercaillie’s most favoured habitat is pristine Caledonian pine forest where they are under threat from tourism.

He claims the country’s mild winters and cold springs have led Capercaillie hens to produce weaker chicks, which are more susceptible to disease and predation. But, the RSPB have hit back saying Dr Moss is “premature” in talking of a local extinction of this species. Moss, formerly of the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology in BanchoryAberdeenshire, is also concerned that a stronghold of the birds in Speyside is under threat from a tourism drive in the Cairngorms National Park. Nature walks and mountain biking have eroded the bird’s habitat and chicks are killed by dogs who are allowed to run free. The estimates will embarrass conservation bodies such as the RSPB which have received more than 5 million Euros of public money over the past decade to save the bird. Dr Moss said: “Conservation money has given Capercaillie a better chance, but if the weather continues they could be extinct within 10 years.”

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