29 March 1999
Corncrakes protected on Lewis
By FWi staff
AN AREA of Lewis attractive to the threatened corncrake has become the 100th site in Scotland to be classified as a Special Protection Area for the almost-extinct bird.
The corncrake was once found throughout the UK, but over the last century it has disappeared from almost everywhere except the Scottish Islands.
Its disappearance has been linked to intensive farming methods and the ploughing-up of the birds natural habitat.
Scottish Environment Minister Lord Sewel unveiled the 100th protection site today (Monday), describing it as a significant landmark in the protection of wild birds.
European countries are obliged to protect rare and endangered species and migratory birds through a combination of site classification and associated measures.
In recent years, corncrakes have shown a modest recovery in numbers in parts of the Western Isles and Inner Hebrides, with the help of crofters and farmers.
Crofters can apply for payments for corncrake-friendly land management practices under new voluntary schemes.