Species on the Edge: Outer Hebrides


In 2020, NatureScot launched a new key programme for Scotland’s island and coastal wildlife: Species on the Edge - Safeguarding coast and island wildlife.

The project aims to ensure the survival of more than 40 vulnerable species, and it’s timing couldn’t be more essential; 49% of Scotland’s magnificent wildlife have experienced a decrease in numbers, with 11% classed as under threat from extinction.

In the Outer Hebrides, Species on the Edge will support a mix of endangered wildlife populations, including farmland birds, terns, bees, bats and plant species. But eight other areas will also benefit, including: The Solway Coast; The Inner Hebrides; Argyll; Lochaber; North Scotland Coast; Orkney Islands; Shetland Islands; and East Scotland Coast.

Species Projects

Species are included in the projects because they are:

  1. highly reliant on Scotland’s less intensively managed coast and island habitats for their continued survival;
  2. included as a priority on the Scottish Biodiversity List; and
  3. we are confident that collaborative action will provide the necessary conservation benefits.

The nine projects and species they cover are:

  • Coastal Treasures of the Eastern Solway: amphibian and reptiles, primarily natterjack toad.
  • Bees on the Edge: great yellow bumble bee, moss carder bee and the northern colletes mining bee.
  • Invertebrates on the Edge: tadpole shrimp, medicinal leech, narrow-mouthed whorl snail, bordered brown lacewing, short-necked oil beetle and plantain leaf beetle.
  • Jewels of the north: Scottish primrose, purple oxytropis, Irish lady’s tresses, eyebrights, curved sedge, oysterplant and autumn gentian.
  • Rockin’ the Blues: small blue and northern brown argus.
  • Protecting Scotland’s Island Wonders: common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle, brown long-eared bat and Daubenton’s bat.
  • Farming Horizons: Greenland white-fronted goose, red-billed chough, lapwing, curlew, dunlin, red-necked phalarope, twite and corncrake.
  • Terning the Tide: Arctic tern, Sandwich tern and little tern.
  • A Brighter Future for Herb-rich Pastures: marsh fritillary, New Forest burnet moth, slender Scotch burnet moth, transparent burnet moth and Talisker burnet moth.

Kick-started using a National Lottery Heritage Fund award of over £260,000, the project will span for more than five years. Despite a short duration, NatureScot hopes the impacts will be long-lasting: through education initiatives, Scotland communities — particularly island and coastal — will be more empowered to ensure the long-term safe-guarding of critical species. While striving for an increase in engagement across a more diverse audience nation-wide.

Moreover, maximising conservation efforts through collaborative work is another primary goal for the project. So far, a network composed of an array of Scottish wildlife organisations is in place, including:

  • Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
  • The Bat Conservation Trust
  • Buglife
  • The Bumblebee Conservation Trust
  • Butterfly Conservation
  • Plantlife Scotland
  • RSPB Scotland

Keen to find out more? Head to:

  1. Nature fund to tackle ‘most at risk and vulnerable’ species
  2. Species on the Edge - Safeguarding Coast and Island Wildlife 
  3. Still Delivering the Goods - The role of environment charities in protecting and enhancing nature in Scotland.