Page last updated at 00:07 GMT, Friday, 18 September 2009 01:07 UK

Estate 'threat' to capercaillie

Capercaillie - Chris Gomersall/RSPB Images
Capercaillie are one of the UK's most endangered birds

Plans for a £1.3bn luxury resort in Perthshire would threaten the habitat of one of the UK's rarest birds, an animal charity has warned.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said building the super resort at Loch Rannoch could have a serious impact on the capercaillie.

They are calling on Perth and Kinross Council to refuse the application from Dall Estate and M James Developments.

Conservationists believe there are about 2,000 capercaillie in Scotland.

The birds have seen their numbers decline from about 20,000 in the 1970s, with the loss of native pinewoods blamed for the decrease.

The RSPB has capercaillie on its red list - species which are globally threatened, or have experienced a rapid decline in numbers.

This development can go elsewhere; the capercaillie cannot
Bruce Anderson
RSPB Scotland

The charity said that the planned development would sacrifice an area of pine woodland greater than the size of 350 football pitches.

Developers want to create an exclusive resort at the site of the former Rannoch boarding school.

If given the go ahead, they aim to build a hotel and two golf courses on 430 hectares of the Dall Estate on the south shore of the eastern limits of Loch Rannoch.

The development could also create hundreds of new jobs for the area.

However, Bruce Anderson, from the RSPB, said capercaillie in the area were struggling to thrive as it was.

He added: "The area earmarked for this development is the species' best bet for hanging on at all in Perthshire, and has quite rightly been identified for expansion of the Caledonian pine forest.

"Loss, fragmentation and disturbance in this area should be resisted at all costs.

"Scotland has precious little native pine forest left as it is - what we have should be protected. This development can go elsewhere; the capercaillie cannot."

The application to build the new resort in Perthshire is currently making its way through the Perth and Kinross Council planning system.

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