Groups unite to halt course on butterflies’ coastal home
Wildlife: Rare species’ habitat at risk
A wildlife charity has joined a coalition of conservation organisations opposed to the construction of a new golf course.
Butterfly Conservation Scotland say that there are records of 168 different species of butterflies and moths on the site at Coul Links on the Sutherland coast.
This includes 10 nationally-scarce species – and one type which was discovered for the first time in the UK at the Embo site.
The multimillion-pound golf project is being masterminded by American businessman Todd Warnock and renowned course designer Mike Keiser.
Mr Warnock, who owns the Links House Hotel in nearby Dornoch, said that the course would be the key to keeping golfers in the area and unlocking a major economic catalyst.
However, several conservation groups have lobbied against the proposal, including the Scottish Wildlife Trust, RSPB Scotland, Buglife, the Marine Conservation Society and Plantlife Scotland.
Butterfly Conservation Scotland’s Dr Tom Prescott said: “Our records indicate that Coul Links is a very special place. The site has survived development which is unusual for such a beautiful coastal location and this has allowed a wide range of specialised coastal species to live at Coul which
“Records of 168 different species of butterflies and moths on the site”
have been lost from so many other locations.
“Turning Coul Links into a golf course would be a tragedy and would permanently damage a place that is home to many rare species.
“I urge the developers to think again. There must be more appropriate locations to develop a golf course than an irreplaceable natural jewel like Coul Links.”
The very scarce listed moth only has a scientific name, Caryocolum blandelloides. It was discovered at Coul Links in August 1994.
Bruce Wilson, senior policy officer at Scottish Wildlife Trust, welcomed the intervention.
“This evidence underlines that Coul Links is not only beautiful but is also an important home for a wealth of rare species. It will be almost impossible to construct a golf course on Coul Links without causing unacceptable damage to important sites.”
Mr Warnock has previously said he is confident his design team can build the course in an ecologically sensitive way.
He said: “It’s a question
“Permanently damage a place that is home to many rare species”
of achieving a dual goal of economic development and ecological conservation. We have the best people in the world to achieve these two goals and I am confident we can do it.”
SCARCE: The rare Caryocolum blandelloides moth was discovered at Coul Links
The extensive beach can be seen near Coul Links