THE ANGUS South MSP has joined the fight to protect the endangered indigenous Scottish species.
Graeme Dey MSP agreed to become a species champion for the Environment Link which is attempting to highlight the plight of 93 Scottish species.
Mr Dey is depute convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs Climate Change and Environment Committee and has taken on the cause of the Wooly Willow on behalf of the National Trust for Scotland and Scottish National heritage.
It is feared that as few as 1,800 examples of Wooly Willow remain across Scotland in a very limited number of locations.
Mr Dey said: “I’m pleased to become a Species Champion and lend my support to efforts to reverse the decline of Wooly Willow.
“Scotland faces a significant challenge in tackling the loss of bio-diversity and I chose to champion the cause of Wooly Willow because it is a shrub which is under serious threat.
“Thanks to the impact of red deer and sheep grazing I am told it is now to be found in just 13, high altitude, locations with only four of these boasting more than 100 plants.
“SNH and NTS, working with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, have carried out some re-planting work, including in the Cairngorms, to try and reverse the decline.
“But there remains much to be done to preserve the existence of Wooly Willow and our other threatened species.”