AN overwhelming majority of Scots want to see an accelerated drive to created wilder national parks with specific areas devoted to rewilding. 

In an opinion poll commissioned by the Scottish Rewilding Alliance, 74 per cent of Scots backed a call from the organisation to make nature recovery the primary purpose of the country's national parks.

In February this year, the Scottish Government’s nature agency NatureScot advised ministers to create wilder national parks and the new polling shows public mood in support of the move.

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Steve Micklewright, Convenor of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance and Chief Executive of rewilding charity Trees for Life, said: "We’re urging the Government to listen to its nature agency and the Scottish people, and make nature recovery a primary purpose of our national parks.

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"This would ensure these important areas can make a greater contribution to Scotland becoming the world’s first rewilding nation – a place where nature and people can thrive – and in achieving the Government’s commitment to protect 30% of Scotland for nature by 2030."

Scotland's two national parks, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms, were declared 20 years ago with plans in the works to designate a third.

The move to a greater focus on rewilding to help tackle the overlapping nature and climate emergencies is urgently required, the Alliance said.

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Mr Micklewright added: "Our national parks have the potential to be at the forefront of restoring functioning, thriving ecosystems in Scotland, a country that is currently one of the most nature-depleted in the whole world.

"Wilder national parks would provide more opportunities for people to live and work in them, including through more sustainable livelihoods, while visitors would be able to enjoy seeing more of Scotland’s remarkable wildlife and habitats as species and landscapes begin to recover."

NatureScot’s advice to ministers included the introduction of new legislation to make restoring nature and combating climate breakdown the overarching purpose of Scotland’s national parks.

The organisation recommended the drafting of a "national statement" to give clear policy direction for the future of National Parks, their purpose and aims.

Its report also stated that "a step change in ambition and leadership by National Park Authorities" is necessary "with funding to work at the pace required to deliver".

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Of additional importance, it added, is ensuring communities, third sector organisation and the public and private sectors have involvement in creating a positive future for Scotland's national parks.  

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment. 

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance is a collaboration of more than 20 organisations which share a mission to enable rewilding at a scale new to Scotland.