A PETITION to save a group of wallabies on a Loch Lomond island has hit 100,000 signatures with names from every Scottish constituency, according to campaigners.

The marsupials have been living on the uninhabited Inchconnachan island since the 1940s when they were introduced from Australia and Papua New Guinea by the countess of Arran.

And now Inchconnachan’s wallaby population has been subject to fierce debate as the recent purchase of the island by Desert Island Discs presenter Kirsty Young has brought the animals’ future into doubt.

Young and her husband have said they intend to develop Inchconnachan by building holiday lets and replacing the wallabies with indigenous animals.

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In February, it was reported that around 60 of the animals live on the island and campaigners report that joeys have recently been born on Inchconnachan and that none of the remaining population has been harmed.

But activists have warned that they fear “this will not be the case for much longer” and that they are disappointed by the response to the petition from MSPs who have so far not supported the cause.

They also allege that NatureScot, the Scottish Government’s nature agency, is not doing enough to help the population - despite supporting a project that gave the wallaby a Gaelic name (uallabaidh ruadh-mhuinealach).

NatureScot says that the specially-designated woodland habitat on Inchconnachan would fail to regenerate if the population was allowed to increase and that the numbers have been controlled in the past because they are a non-native, invasive species that can “cause serious impacts to young trees”.

However, campaigners say that as the diet of the population mainly comprises of blaeberry - a plant which they estimate covers 75% of the island - and so "can’t see the harm in [the wallabies] staying".

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A spokesperson for the Save the Wallabies of Loch Lomond campaign said: “As a keen environmentalist I will concede more studies should be done, but to condemn these animals on little to no evidence is just classic NatureScot taking the easy route of shooting these creatures instead of looking at alternate solutions.”

A NatureScot spokesperson said: “Early this year, we discussed with the new owners of Inchconnachan how best to protect and enhance this specially-designated woodland habitat, while looking at the impact of herbivores and invasive, non-native species on the island."