Future plans

The Foundation is based in Scotland but we have worked across the UK and internationally since we were founded by Roy Dennis in 1995. To reflect the international scope of our work and Roy’s inspirational contribution to conservation we have changed our name to the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation. Over the coming years Roy will continue his fieldwork and work up new projects in his role as Honorary Director, but much of our work outside Scotland will be spearheaded by Dr Tim Mackrill. Tim has joined the foundation from the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust where he managed the Rutland Osprey Project, as well as other initiatives such as a successful water vole reintroduction. He has also recently completed his PhD on osprey migration.

Over the coming years the Foundation will continue to focus on species recovery projects and the restoration of natural ecosystems. We believe that a positive, pro-active approach to nature conservation is essential at a time when nature is threatened more than ever before. The recent State of Nature report indicated that over half of UK species have declined in recent decades and, as such, urgent action is required. By working closely with landowners, farmers, foresters, conservation organisations and local people we know that we can make a difference.

The foundation will continue to undertake important species conservation work, including with ospreys (photo by John Wright)

Much of our work will continue to be based around species recovery projects. In recent years the well-documented increase in birds such as osprey, red kite and white-tailed eagle has been the result of carefully planned reintroductions that have restored much-loved species to areas where they have been absent for centuries. The recent decision by the Scottish government to grant the beaver protected species status is further testament to the vital role that reintroduction can play in the conservation of rare and threatened species. The foundation has played a leading role in the reintroduction of both birds and mammals in the UK and around Europe over the past 22 years, and we will continue to take this proactive approach.

Species recovery projects have a fundamental role to play in conservation, but they will only be successful in the long term if we also prioritise the restoration of large functioning ecosystems. Roy Dennis has long advocated the value of rewilding, and the need to conserve very large areas of land and sea within which the conservation of individual species is achieved and the earth’s life processes are maintained. We will continue to support and campaign for this approach to conservation. This is no easy task, but one that is essential in the face of rapid global environmental change.

The Foundation has recently used GSM transmitters to track ospreys migrating between the UK and West Africa in incredible detail – we will continue this exciting research

In the 22 years since the Foundation was established, we have used innovative techniques and cutting edge technology to track birds on migration and to monitor the daily movements of breeding species. The first satellite transmitters that we deployed on ospreys in 1999 provided exciting new information on the routes and speed of ospreys as they migrated between the UK and West Africa, whilst the most recent GSM transmitters can now demonstrate how an ospreys uses thermals as it migrates across the Sahara. This data formed the basis of Tim Mackrill’s PhD thesis – you can download a copy here from the University of Leicester research archive. Satellite tracking has also provided valuable new information on the movement of young golden eagles in the years before they enter the breeding population, and also demonstrated the threat that illegal persecution still poses to eagles and other birds of prey.  We will continue to use such technology to aid the conservation aims and objectives of the foundation.

Satellite tracking can provide valuable information on the movements of golden eagles

How can you help?

The foundation relies on grants and donations in order to continue our important work. We are launching a special appeal to coincide with our name change. To find out more, click here.