A CAMPAIGN calling for Scotland to become the first “rewilding nation” in the world, backed by Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio, is launching a new fundraising drive.

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.

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.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio (below) last week backed the 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 National: Leonardo DiCaprio (Doug Peters/PA)

Rewilding Britain now aims to raise £200,000 for the Rewilding Nation campaign as part of this year’s Big Give Green Match Fund, which runs from April 18 to 25, with all donations up to £100k matched by Big Give.

Kevin Cumming, Rewilding Britain’s rewilding director and steering group member of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance, said: “We’re urging people from all walks of life to support the Rewilding Nation campaign.

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“This is about creating a groundswell of hope for a greener, fairer Scotland in which communities and nature thrive together.

“Rewilding is about tackling the nature and climate emergencies, while offering a cascade of benefits for people – including better health, new jobs, food security, and healthy rivers and seas.”

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 extended an open invitation to DiCaprio to visit the charity’s Dundreggan Rewilding Centre near Loch Ness in the Highlands.

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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.

DiCaprio has expressed interest in the Scottish environment before, drawing in large crowds at Cop26 in Glasgow in November 2021.

At the time, he was a UN representative on climate change and interacted with Maryhill locals at a fringe event in the Engine Works on Lochburn Road.

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

Anyone wishing to donate can do so at https://donate.biggive.org/campaign/a056900002SEUAQAA5