About us

The Foundation was established in Scotland in 1995 as the Highland Foundation for Wildlife.  It is a non-membership charitable trust dedicated to wildlife conservation and research, with a special emphasis on species recovery projects and the restoration of natural ecosystems. Our aim is to carry out important work in the field through project-based activity and to keep administrative overheads to a minimum.  The first trustees were Sir Charles Fraser, Nigel Graham, John Grant of Rothiemurchus, Lady Lucy Lister Kaye and William Templeton.  The present trustees are Jamie Whittle (Chairman),  Lady Lucy Lister Kaye, Frank Law and John Nicholson.

We changed our name in June 2017 to the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation to reflect Roy’s inspirational contribution to nature conservation and the international scope of our work. You can read about some of the Foundation’s key achievements to date here.

Recognised as a Wildlife Charity in Scotland: Number SC023741.

Photo by Laurie Campbell

Roy Dennis

Roy Dennis MBE is a field ornithologist and wildlife consultant, living in Moray; he has worked in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland since 1959, most notably on the conservation of rare birds and the reintroduction of lost species, such as the white-tailed eagle and red kite. From 1970 to 1990, he was the RSPB’s senior officer in Northern Scotland.  He directed Fair Isle Bird Observatory from 1963 to 1970; was Chairman for 16 years until November 2010, on the completion of the prestigious new Bird Observatory, and is now the President of the Trust, so his knowledge of seabirds, migration and Scottish islands is extensive. He is a specialist in raptor conservation and reintroductions in the UK and abroad, having been involved with osprey, red kite, golden eagle and sea eagle reintroduction projects, and his satellite tracking studies since 1999 have broken new ground and given great interest to the public via our map-based website.  He has long been an advocate for restoring lost mammals toScotland, particularly beaver and lynx.  In 1992 he was awarded a MBE for services to nature conservation in Scotland and in 2004 was voted the RSPB Golden Eagle Award winner for the person who had done most for nature conservation in Scotland in the last 100 years.  He is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster.  His latest book (2008) is ‘A Life of Ospreys’ and his TV documentaries include Eagle Owl and Saving our Seabirds.  He was a presenter on BBC Autumnwatch in 2011 and Springwatch 2012.

Tim Mackrill

Dr Tim Mackrill leads the Foundation’s work in England, including the White-tailed Eagle reintroduction based on the Isle of Wight and Osprey translocation at Poole Harbour in Dorset.  He joined the Foundation in 2017 from the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust where he managed the Rutland Osprey Project, as well as other initiatives, including a successful water vole reintroduction. He completed a PhD on Osprey migration at the University of Leicester and is author of The Rutland Water Ospreys and RSPB Spotlight Ospreys.  Tim is also Founder of the Osprey Leadership Foundation.

Zoe Smith

Zoe joined the foundation in 2021 with over a decade’s experience working in raptor conservation in the UK and internationally. She was elected to the board of the Raptor Research Foundation in 2022 superseding Jemima Parry Jones as the Director outside of North America https://raptorresearchfoundation.org/about/leadership/.

Some of her career highlights in Eurasia have included working in Dadia National Park on Cinereous, Griffon and Egyptian vultures; raptor count supervisor at the Strait of Messina in Italy for Ornis Italica; and counting at raptor migration bottle necks: Batumi Raptor Count in the Republic of Georgia and at Khoa Dinsor in Thailand.

In the Americas Zoe was a spring Intern at Hawk Mountain USA and has also been a raptor counter at Mexico’s Veracruz ‘River of Raptors’ projects, one of the biggest migration counts in the world.

In the UK her raptor work has included working for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), on Hen Harriers, British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Hawk and Owl Trust on Urban Peregrines.

Zoe is enthusiastic and very passionate about understanding birds of prey ecology and inspiring the next generation to be involved in raptor conservation.

 The aims of the Foundation

  • To carry out work in, and provide funds to encourage new projects in the enhanced conservation of wildlife and natural ecosystems, in particular through wise management, new research and innovative techniques in Scotland and elsewhere in the world.
  • To re-introduce, translocate and restore populations of rare, vulnerable or lost species of wildlife, and to carry out species recovery projects.
  • To re-introduce, translocate and restore populations of rare, vulnerable or lost species of wildlife, and to carry out species recovery projects.
  • To provide a support base for the undertaking of wildlife projects by independent ornithologists, ecologists and others.
  • To encourage young people to gain fieldwork experience in wildlife conservation.
  • To encourage co-operation and positive action in wildlife conservation through ‘think-tanks’, debate, training and the production of books, articles and films.
  • To provide opportunities for donors to be involved in exciting and worthwhile wildlife projects through sponsorship and field participation.

The Foundation can work in and spend its funds anywhere in the UK and elsewhere in the world.  It can accept contributions of all kinds and can fund raise.  It can work in partnership with others and make grants or loans to other charitable bodies. It can also purchase, lease or accept gifts of land or buildings in Scotland or elsewhere.

Our logo is a pair of goldeneye because this was one of the first rare breeding species that Roy Dennis worked with in Scotland. In 1961 he saw a female goldeneye caring for a tufted duckling in July at Loch Allan in Moray. That winter he erected 12 nest boxes in Strathspey, supplied by George Waterston, the then Director of the RSPB in Scotland. Each winter on holiday from Fair Isle, he cleaned out the boxes for the next summer – finally in 1970 the first one was used by a breeding goldeneye.  Returning to Strathspey in 1971 as the RSPB’s Highland Officer, he organised more nest boxes and a successful conservation project which resulted in the species successfully colonising the Highlands.

Photo by Laurie Campbell

Photo by Laurie Campbell