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Leonardo DiCaprio urges Scotland to be a ‘world leader’ in rewilding efforts

Hollywood superstar Leonardo DiCaprio has joined Scottish environmentalists in urging ministers to declare the country a rewilding nation.

The American actor took to Instagram to share the message of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance with his 62.1 million followers.

The alliance is a coalition of more than 20 nature organisations urging the Scottish government to declare the country the first rewilding nation in an effort to boost conservation strategies.

The Oscar-winning actor wrote: “The Scottish Rewilding Alliance is urging the Scottish government to declare Scotland a rewilding nation, committing to nature recovery across 30% of the land and seas to benefit nature, climate, and people.

“About 6,000 years ago, most of southern Scotland was covered by broadleaf woodland, interspersed with patches of rich scrub, heath, and bog.

“In stark contrast, the landscape today is nature-depleted hills, with highly degraded sheep-grazed areas (so called ‘sheep-wrecked’ landscapes) and blocks of non-native spruce plantations.

“With this campaign, Scotland could be a world leader in rewilding its landscapes, ensuring clean air and water, storing carbon, reducing flooding, restoring wildlife, and improving the lives of locals.”

DiCaprio – who attended COP26 in Glasgow as a UN representative on climate change – urged his followers to visit the link in on his social media page to learn more about the cause.

The Scottish government previously said it was working to unlock the full potential of restoration projects.

Ministers have been urged to commit to nature recovery across 30% of the country’s land and sea.

Figures recorded by the alliance suggested 2.1% of Scotland’s land was rewilding, with 150 projects covering at least 160,000 hectares.

But the environmental groups warned the project would need to be significantly scaled up to meet the 30% target.

The Scottish government previously said restoring the country’s natural environment is “a key way” to fight nature loss and climate change.

A spokesperson highlighted its £65m nature restoration fund, which has already committed nearly £40m since 2021.

They added: “The fund has supported local businesses to boost nature tourism, helped landowners with pollinator projects to boost food production and supported projects that have improved access to both green spaces and our marine environment throughout Scotland.

“These projects have brought a myriad of benefits to rural communities such as creating new jobs, providing natural flood defences, and helping to support the recovery of vulnerable species, such as the wild salmon.”

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