OPTIMISM is growing that the next Scottish Government will declare Scotland a rewilding nation ahead of the Glasgow COP26 climate conference later this year.

As part of the first World Rewilding Day today, the Scottish Rewilding Alliance is calling on MSPs from all parties to support a parliamentary motion recognising the potential benefits – social, economic and environmental – of establishing the world’s first rewilding nation. The Holyrood motion was lodged by the SNP’s Gail Ross, and has been signed by 22 other MSPs – from the SNP, Labour, Green and LibDem parties.

“We’re calling on more MSPs to show their support,” said Steve Micklewright, chief executive of Trees for Life and the Alliance’s convener. “Members of the public still have time to ask their MSPs to sign this important motion before the March 24 deadline.

“Less than a month since the campaign’s launch, there’s growing optimism that the next Scottish Government will declare Scotland a rewilding nation ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow later this year. Such an act of leadership and hope in the face of overlapping nature, climate and health crises would be a world first, unless someone beats us to it.”

READ MORE: This is how Scotland can become the first Rewilding Nation

The Alliance is calling for rewilding of at least 30% of Scotland’s land and sea by 2030.

It says this can be achieved by restoring woodlands, moorlands, peatlands, rivers and marine habitats, with no loss of productive agricultural land. The Alliance commissioned Scotland-specific polling from market researcher Survation in November, which showed 76% of people backing it.

Micklewright added: “In Scotland we have the space, political influence and public backing to become a world leader in saving nature and ourselves. The opportunity is there if we want to seize it.”