A small herd of hardy cattle, Highlanders and one Shetland cow, are now grazing select areas of the Darnaway Forest within the Special Protection Area for Capercailzie. The grazing and dunging of small areas improves ground flora and habitat for the endangered Capercailzie. Each cow has a GPS-linked collar, which keeps them within a specified area which is defined on a computer. This creates a ‘virtual field’ which avoids the need for fencing. The collars also allow the cattle to be tracked – just to check they’re where they’re supposed to be.
If the trial is successful, and the cattle have settled very well, then the project will be expanded to improve habitat for Black Grouse and other upland birds on two further estates at Braemoray and Doune.