Outer Hebrides’ residents encouraged to walk on the wild side

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LOCAL residents, as well as visitors to the Outer Hebrides, are being encouraged to make the most of wildlife opportunities in the area and beyond, as part of a major UK marketing campaign launched by VisitScotland and Scottish Natural Heritage, to celebrate the Year of Natural Scotland 2013.

VisitScotland and Scottish Natural Heritage have selected five of Scotland’s iconic indigenous species for the UK marketing campaign which will focus on Red Deer, Golden Eagle, Harbour Seal, Otter and Red Squirrels.

The joint initiative aims to inspire people to get and out and about and also visit a dedicated website www.visitscotland.com/big5 which contains information about where to see the Big 5 in Scotland.

Alan Mackenzie, VisitScotland’s Island Manager, said: “The Year of Natural Scotland is about getting people from here at home out and about, as the Islands’ wildlife appeals to people who live here, as well as being a key selling point for visitors.

“Indeed, four of the five big five can be seen in the Outer Hebrides - Golden Eagle, Otter, Red Deer and Harbour Seal.

“We are lucky in the Outer Hebrides to have so many fantastic choices for nature tourism so I’d encourage everyone to take a look and see what’s available on their doorstep.”

And Ian Jardine, Chief Executive with Scottish Natural Heritage, added: “The Year of Natural Scotland is an ideal opportunity to celebrate Scotland’s dramatic and rich natural environment.
“Most people will be aware of the animals selected for the Scotland’s Big 5 campaign, but many not have seen them in their natural habitat. In Scotland we have a good chance to see these distinctive animals in a wild setting – something that isn’t possible for many people in Europe today.

“We know that’s why many come to Scotland on holiday. So let’s make the most of it.”