A WHISKY producer has raised more than £600,000 as part of its conservation work to protect grouse species in the UK.
The Famous Grouse teamed up with bird protection charity RSPB in 2008 to support the endangered animals and reached its fundraising milestone earlier this month.
The partnership coincided with the launch of The Black Grouse, with the company pledging to support RSPB in its efforts to save the new whisky’s namesake.
During the partnership, there has been an upward trend in population numbers of black grouse across RSPB reserves in northern Scotland, with the focus now on improving its prospects in southern Scotland, where numbers are in sharp decline.
Suzy Smith, marketing director for The Famous Grouse, said: “We are proud of our partnership with RSPB and are thrilled to have reached this fantastic milestone allowing us to help support the terrific work the charity does for the UK’s wildlife.
“When we launched The Black Grouse whisky, it was agreed that 50p from the sale of every bottle in the UK would be donated to the RSPB for the duration of the three-year partnership to fund black grouse conservation across four reserves: Inversnaid and Corrimony in Scotland; Geltsdale in the north of England; and Lake Vyrnwy in Wales.
“Over time, more reserves also benefited from the partnership support, including Abernethy near Aviemore and the Crannach on Deeside.
“It was a significant achievement to break the £100,000 mark by 2010 and we are proud to have continued to work with RSPB and to have now raised over £600,000.”
RSPB Scotland director Stuart Housden said: “The primary cause of the decline in black grouse is degradation and fragmentation of their moorland and woodland habitats.
“Donations from The Famous Grouse have helped improve grouse habitats across 85,000 acres of nature reserve land, supported the planting of 185,000 native trees and the mowing of 30 hectares of heather.
“The fund has also helped purchase the Crannach nature reserve; a woodland and upland area on Deeside and within the Cairngorms National Park.”