Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser

Red Kite champion flying high in new role

- GREGOR FARQUHARSO­N

Lanarkshir­e MSP Meghan Gallacher has been named as Scottish Environmen­t LINK’S nature champion for Red Kites.

The Red Kite is an iconic bird that was once abundant in the skies above urban and rural Scotland.

However, by the end of the 19th century, the bird was on the very edge of extinction through persecutio­n and egg collecting.

In the late 1980s, conservati­onists began a programme that would see the Red Kite reintroduc­ed across the length of the United Kingdom, with phenomenal success.

It is thanks to these programmes that there are now between 300 and 350 breeding pairs in Scotland, and more than 10,000 Red Kites now grace the environmen­t across the United Kingdom.

Conservati­ve Central Scotland MSP Ms Gallacher welcomed the opportunit­y to visit Argaty Red Kites to hear more about the exciting project from owner and operator Tom Bowser.

She said: “I am passionate about animal welfare and as the owner of an Indian ringneck parrot, birds are a particular favourite.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have been selected as the Nature Champion for Red Kites. They are such a magnificen­t bird and having witnessed them in their own wild habitat at Argaty, they are full of wonder and character.

“It was brilliant to talk to Tom, Kelvin and Duncan, to hear firsthand the amazing work they have been involved in bringing Red Kites back from the brink of extinction here in Scotland.

“There are specific challenges that we need to overcome to ensure that the positive work being undertaken by sites like Argaty are not threatened by irresponsi­ble human activity.

“I will be working closely with colleagues from across the political spectrum to enable the legislatio­n to compliment the fantastic work of these groups.

“I would like to thank Kelvin and Duncan for their invaluable expertise and Tom for his wonderful hospitalit­y. I will definitely be taking him up on his offer to come and see the Red Kites being ringed in the spring.”

 ?? ?? Absolutely thrilled Ms Gallacher is Scottish Environmen­t LINK’S nature champion for the iconic bird
Absolutely thrilled Ms Gallacher is Scottish Environmen­t LINK’S nature champion for the iconic bird

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