Leonardo DiCaprio-backed rewilding campaign raises over £200,000

The Oscar winner backed the Rewilding Nation campaign in an Instagram post.

A campaign, backed by Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, calling for Scotland to become the first Rewilding Nation in the world has raised more than £200,000 in less than a week.

The Scottish Rewilding Alliance, a coalition of more than 20 organisations, is urging the Scottish Government to declare Scotland a Rewilding Nation in an effort to boost conservation strategies.

Alliance member Rewilding Britain set out to raise £200,000 for the Rewilding Nation campaign as part of this year’s Big Give Green Match Fund, which runs until midday on April 25, with all donations up to £100,000 matched by Big Give.

The fundraising drive, launched at midday on April 18, raised £200,000 in just six days – 24 hours ahead of its original one-week target.

The alliance said its Rewilding Nation Charter, calling on the Scottish Government to declare Scotland a rewilding nation, has been signed by thousands of people.

Kevin Cumming, Rewilding Britain’s rewilding director and a steering group member of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance, said: “The outpouring of support for our ground-breaking Rewilding Nation campaign – through donations and by signing the Rewilding Nation Charter – shows how much Scotland’s rewilding journey is inspiring people from all walks of life.

“Huge thanks to the thousands of people who have donated and signed the Charter. Scotland has a real moment of choice and opportunity here – offering hope for tackling the nature and climate emergencies, while creating a cascade of benefits for people and local communities.

“That includes better health, new jobs, food security, and healthy rivers and seas.”

Earlier this month, Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio backed the Rewilding Nation campaign in an Instagram post which has been liked almost 100,000 times, saying: “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.”

The alliance said that Scotland is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world but believes that it is possible to rewild 30% of it by restoring habitats including peatlands, native woodlands, wetlands, rivers and seas, with no loss of productive farmland.

Funds raised during the Big Give week will support outreach work such as events with communities, meetings with politicians and policy makers, a new community rewilding guide, and making the campaign widely accessible in Gaelic.

Alliance member Trees for Life has invited Leonardo DiCaprio to visit the charity’s Dundreggan Rewilding Centre near Loch Ness in the Highlands.

The centre celebrates rewilding and Gaelic culture, and offers a gateway for visitors to explore Trees for Life’s Dundreggan estate, part of Affric Highlands, the UK’s biggest rewilding landscape.

Anyone wishing to sign the charter can do so at https://www.rewild.scot/charter.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Restoring Scotland’s natural environment is a key way that we can help address the twin challenges of nature loss and climate change, including many of the interventions championed by the Scottish Rewilding Alliance.

“Our £65m Nature Restoration Fund has committed nearly £40m since 2021 to unlock the full potential that nature restoration projects can bring to communities.

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

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