CAMPAIGNERS battling to save wildlife species in the Doon Valley which are threatened with extinction enjoyed some celebrity backing.

TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham paid a visit to the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Dalmellington Moss reserve as part of an independent UK-wide audit.

He has been investigating which breeds are most at risk and to what extent as well as raising money for local projects working on the conservation of wildlife habitats.

The East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative (CEI) and Scottish Wildlife Trust, along with 16 volunteers were proud to host one of the 50 events that Chris is organising.

They gathered at the reserve, which lies on the River Doon floodplain and is a rare raised bog habitat that is home to some unique and special wildlife such as the large heath butterfly and sundew, a carnivorous plant.

CEI manager, Daisy Whytock, said: “A team of 16 volunteers came together at Dalmellington Moss Wildlife Reserve to carry out a 24-hour intensive wildlife survey, using a variety of recording methods and cataloguing over 200 species including many not previously recorded at the reserve, such as the national scarce marsh oblique barred moth.

“This data will help the Scottish Wildlife Trust manage the reserve and contribute to our knowledge of species in Esat Ayrshire. Huge thanks goes to the knowledgeable and hard-working volunteers who helped make this event a success. It was also thrilling to meet Chris Packham, who I’ve been a fan of since watching the Really Wild Show as a child.”

Chris and his team began in the Highlands at the start of a whirlwind tour, entitled The Bioblitz Campaign, across Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and parts of England.

He said: “I need to meet the people with their fingers on the pulse of our wildlife the length and breadth of the UK, those unsung heroes, the great British naturalists who know their stuff and are making a difference.

“I need to get a complete first-hand experience of the natural health of the UK. I’m excited and terrified at the same time. I love learning and seeing new places and species but I fear that I will also bear witness to a landscape in huge trouble.

“I want to spread an awareness of the successes and failures and to raise some money to help combat the latter.”

Visit for more information about Dalmellington Moss Wildlife Reserve and the work being carried out by CEI.