Over the last few centuries, Scotland has been a dangerous place to be a predator. Described by some as the Scottish wildlife clearances, land managers killed incredible numbers of predatory animals to protect sheep and game – driving many predators to extinction. Sadly, there is abundant evidence that remaining predators are still subject to persecution over parts of the Highlands.
Things are changing, though, and in one particular area of the Cairngorms National Park – encompassed by the Cairngorms Connect partnership – something remarkable is happening. The carnivores are returning and, contrary to traditional wisdom, it appears that populations of prey species are not being eradicated by this predator proliferation. A natural, diverse predator-prey system is coming to life, and to study this fascinating situation, the Cairngorms Connect Predator Project (CCPP) has been set up.
This project is supported by funding from the Endangered Landscapes Programme and aims to find out how predators and prey coexist, and how predator species interact (for example – do predators eat other predators?). To read the full article please visit the Endangered Landscapes Progamme website.
Image credit: Scotland Big Picture (thumbnail) + Peter Cairns (side image)