RARE wildlife which call the Muirkirk Uplands home are set to benefit from part of a £4.18m funding boost.

Funding from the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme will help recover natural habitats and protect vulnerable species in the area.

The Co-operation Across Borders for Biodiversity (CABB) project is helping endangered wildlife and their habitats across Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

CABB project officer Clive Walton said: “CABB will help us to protect and conserve important upland habitats in Ayrshire, which we hope will benefit a variety of special species.

“Conservation action will be carried out to restore peatland habitat and benefit birds such as hen harriers, curlews, golden plovers and other breeding waders, while also making the moorlands safer for livestock to graze.

“We’re very proud to be involved in the project and hope that it will help to preserve this site and its important wildlife for many years to come.”

Activities in Ayrshire will include cutting rush in wet grasslands to provide areas for remaining waders to breed and thrive; re-wetting and restoring blanket bogs; and producing a plan for future action in the area.

The project (managed by RSPB Northern Ireland) brings together a number of specialist environmental groups, agencies and charities across Northern Ireland, the Border region of Ireland and western Scotland.

Welcoming the funding, Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body, which manages the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, said: “This project represents a unique consortium of charities, specialist non-governmental organisations, statutory agencies and volunteers who, by working in partnership, will help to overcome issues of real environmental concern.

“This partnership-based approach reflects the central ethos of the EU’s INTERREG VA programme, which has been specifically designed to support cross-border based initiatives that will build a more sustainable region now and for future generations.”