Protecting and promoting the rich and diverse wildlife of the National Park is a priority for the Friends and initiatives to protect and nurture red squirrels and the rare powan fish have been supported. A new Wild Lomond website has been developed with a range of supporting species cards with funding support from the Natural Heritage Grant Scheme, the National Park Authority and Scottish Natural Heritage. The Wild Lomond website has now been integrated with this website in the Explore Nature section and we have introduced new features such as the weekly ‘Nature Watch’ updates from well known naturalist Keith Graham who lives at Gartmore and has a regular nature column in the Stirling Observer newspaper feature. The site now allows users to get the most out of the huge variety of wildlife and plant species in the National Park and where and when they can normally be seen.
With support from the Friends OUR Park project we have provided financial assistance to the Cowal Red Squirrel Group for several years to combat the advance of the stronger grey squirrel population in the Park and to protect the more vunerable red squirrels which are under threat. Funding has helped the group to purchase cameras to monitor squirrel types and also to purchase more feeders to install in the ‘frontier’ areas.
This rare land-locked fish species can only be found in Loch Lomond and Loch Eck and lives at Port of Menteith. The population in Loch Lomond is constantly under threat from the introduction of non-native fish such as rough. We have provided some support to the Loch Lomond Fisheries Trust with research and monitoring work to nurture the powan population in the loch.
Through Friends of OUR Park visitor giving scheme several native woodland planting projects have been financially supported. Following the extensive damage caused by high winds in January 2012, the Friends supported a re-planting scheme to replace hundreds of mature oak trees in Balloch Castle Country Park.