Conservation experts fear for the future of rare species of birds after blaze rips through famous wildlife site

A huge fire at an internationally important wildlife site in the UK, which is home to hundreds of rare birds and their nesting chicks, has sparked fears for the future of the rare species.

EXPERTS at the famous Perthshire conservation area in Scotland fear the blaze, which ripped through the Tay reedbed, could have a massive impact on the future survival of the species.

Footage is circulating of the ‘huge wall of flames,’ as nine fire engines and a helicopter tackle the fire at the wildlife reserve, which also represented a real threat to nearby properties.

As yet, the cause of the fire has not been determined.

RSPB Scotland, which manages just under half of the reedbeds, said the 410-hectare area was an “internationally important wildlife site” for many rare species.

A spokesperson for the organisation said: “This is a tragedy for many rare and threatened species, right at the time when they are nesting and trying to raise their chicks. We currently have no idea how the fire started,” reports The Courier.

They confirmed conditions have been exceptionally dry, increasing the risk of fire.

It is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Protection Area, Special Area of Conservation and a Ramsar (important wetland).

The area is home to the largest breeding population of bearded tits in the UK, a strong population of marsh harriers at the limit of their northern range, and many pairs of water rail.

Denise Reed, Scottish Natural Heritage Area Manager for Tayside and Grampian, said: “We are extremely saddened to see such an extensive fire at this nationally and internationally important wildlife site.”

She said wildfire is devastating at any time of year, but at this time of year birds and their young are nesting, adding that warm and dry weather means fires can spread very quickly in these conditions and do lasting damage to nature and wildlife.

The public is urged to be extra vigilant at the moment in these ‘unprecedented times.’

Nobody was hurt in the fire.

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Written by

Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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