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Last Updated: Monday, 20 March 2006, 08:02 GMT
Species identified for protection
Scottish wildcat  (Picture from Scottish Natural Heritage by Laurie Campbell)
The Scottish wildcat is one of Scotland's most threatened species
Scotland's most threatened plants and animals have been identified to ensure they are given priority attention by conservationists.

The white-tailed eagle, Scottish wildcat and black grouse are among 23 species listed in a framework, which has been put out to consultation.

The plan of action also covers non-native species which pose a threat.

The public are being urged to give their views on how Scottish Natural Heritage should develop the plans.

Deputy Environment Minister Rhona Brankin said the framework would help safeguard the future of habitats and wildlife.

"People care deeply about Scotland's wildlife and want to be involved in protecting it," she said.

"The future make-up of Scotland's natural landscape is in our hands and this consultation presents everyone with a unique opportunity to protect our important natural heritage."

The lists includes some of Scotland's most iconic animals and plants, such as the red squirrel and the sea eagle.

Conservation action: black grouse, capercaillie, corn bunting, corncrake, European beaver, freshwater pearl mussel, great yellow bumble bee, lesser butterfly orchid, red squirrel, small cow wheat, Scottish wildcat, vendace, water vole, white-tailed eagle, woolly willow
Non-native species: American mink, rhododendron, signal crayfish, hedgehog (on islands)
Conflict management: Greenland white-fronted goose, hen harrier
Sustainable use: native oyster, red deer

It also represents some less well known species, such as the lesser butterfly orchid and the woolly willow.

Non-native species, which urgently need to be controlled, include the signal crayfish and American mink.

It also identifies those which have the potential to be taken for food, such as the native oyster.

And species which are threatened, but whose conservation can conflict with the interests of farmers or grouse moor managers, also appear on the list.

SNH chief scientist Professor Colin Galbraith said: "The framework sets out a range of situations for conserving or controlling species, with a clear rationale behind why a particular species and course of action has been chosen.

"We are now very keen to get views from people across Scotland about these priorities for action and how we developed them."

Making a Difference for Scotland's Species: A Framework for Action is available at:

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