Tag Archives: reintroduction

Defining Rewilding

There has been a lot of talk recently about the definition of rewilding and the apparent lack of a definitive meaning for the movement that is gaining more and more traction in the public consciousness across the world right now.

For me, it has always been clear, but not something that can be summed up in a short sentence. So in the interests of clarity, here is my interpretation for which I believe there is a strong consensus.

Rewilding at its core is about the mass restoration of ecosystems, encompassing small, medium and large scale projects where natural processes are allowed to interact without ongoing human intervention; restoring land to its uncultivated and wild state to maximise biodiversity. The media has predictably diluted this message and instead fixated on the reintroduction of lost species – but this is just one, albeit important, ingredient for achieving the rewilding ideal. However, reinstating an ecosystem’s trophic function – and by that I mean the way in which predator, prey and plants interact – is a pivotal part of the rewilding model. Continue reading Defining Rewilding

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Red Kite Reintroduction Flying High At Argaty

Spent yesterday afternoon at the Argaty Red Kite hide and would highly recommend a visit to Central Scotland’s only feeding station for these impressive raptors. Situated on a working farm, it’s a great example of wildlife conservation and farming coexisting and providing a valuable source of tourism revenue to the local economy.  Between 1989 and 2009, RSPB Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage conducted an ambitious reintroduction project for this severely persecuted species, having become extinct in Scotland as a breeding bird during the late 19th Century following their once widespread population becoming decimated by sporting estates, egg collectors and taxidermy. With their help, Lerrocks Farm continues to play a vital role in their revival, through supplementary feeding and education. Continue reading Red Kite Reintroduction Flying High At Argaty

Scimitar-horned Oryx Reintroduction Enters New Phase

A further 23 Scimitar-horned Oryx were released into a remote part of Chad this week, as part of a long-term international conservation project to reinstate this most persecuted of antelope back into one of their historic strongholds.  The species is believed to have become extinct in the wild during the early 1990s – the precise year is widely disputed – but are now showing signs of a revival following a release of an initial 23 animals last August into the same region.  This was made possible after a group of 40-50 Oryx were taken from the wild into captivity in the 1960s after decades of hunting decimated their population across Northern Africa.

Continue reading Scimitar-horned Oryx Reintroduction Enters New Phase

Rewilding Lessons In Risnjak

Having recently returned from a nature-orientated trip to Croatia, the subject of rewilding, and in particular, the proposed Lynx reintroduction here in the UK, has been on my mind. The highlight was a day spent exploring the magnificent – and truly wild – Risnjak National Park. Apart from being a prime example of a thriving forest ecosystem brimming with biodiversity, it was also the setting for Croatia’s own Eurasian Lynx resurgence, originating from the release of six animals from Slovakia into Slovenia in 1973.

Continue reading Rewilding Lessons In Risnjak

Yellowstone Wolf Population Continues To Rise

wolf-86624_1280According to the latest figures, 104 wolves spread across 11 packs now reside in the park, following their reintroduction from Canada in 1995.  Nine breeding pairs have also produced at least 40 surviving pups, further bolstering their colony against a legislative backdrop that could see their legal protection from hunting abolished.  The species was declared extinct in Yellowstone during 1926 following decades of intense persecution, triggering an ecological chain reaction that would adversely affect the biodiversity and overall health of the park’s wildlife.  Their reintroduction has dramatically restored much of what had been degraded, as I illustrated in a previous post: Yellowstone Revival.

Continue reading Yellowstone Wolf Population Continues To Rise

Tayside Beavers Being Shot By Farmers

Disappointed to read in the latest copy of BBC Wildlife Magazine that a thriving colony of 200 wild beavers in the Tayside region of Scotland are being killed, due to the perceived risk they pose to crops and farmland.  My immediate reaction: this situation could have been avoided.  The first sightings of their return to the region were recorded as far back as fifteen years ago – allowing plenty time for a plan to be put in place to minimise any conflicts.  Yes, farmers have a right to protect their livelihood and a compensation scheme should have been set up to reimburse farmers, gamekeepers and landowners for any damage to their produce and land.  No such scheme was implemented, as this colony is an unlicensed population, unofficially reintroduced either deliberately or accidentally from private collections.  The Beaver is after all a native species and should not be culled for simply following its natural instincts.

Continue reading Tayside Beavers Being Shot By Farmers

The Resurgence of the European Bison

Back in 1927, Europe’s largest land animal became extinct in the wild following centuries of habitat loss and overhunting.  A dozen individuals in captivity were subsequently bred across five zoos in the hope that one day, a viable population could be re-established.  Now in 2015, there are over 5500 Wisent – to use their correct European name – of which more than 2700 are in truly wild, free-ranging herds.  The magnificently primeval Bialowieza Forest which stretches across the border between Poland and Belarus, is once again a stronghold for them – having been home to 11 of the 12 Wisent removed during the early 20th Century to save the entire species.

Continue reading The Resurgence of the European Bison

Wild Boar Population Increasing in the Forest of Dean

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Despite an increase in the number culled each year, their numbers have almost doubled to over 1000 since 2013, according to findings from the Forestry Commission’s annual thermal imaging survey.  The cull is implemented once a year to try and limit their colony to just 400 individuals – a bureaucratic condition of their unofficial release. Three years ago, the cull was suspended after concerns their densities were getting too low to remain viable.  Personally, I think it’s great to see that once native wildlife such as this is thriving in spite of artificial attempts to disrupt the natural equilibrium of the ecosystem they inhabit.  Either reintroduce a creature and let it live naturally without interference, or don’t do it all: the Forest of Dean example appears to be a half-baked and contrived compromise. Continue reading Wild Boar Population Increasing in the Forest of Dean

ASIATIC LION POPULATION INCREASING

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A recent census conducted in the lion subspecies’ only remaining stronghold of the Gir forest in Gujarat, India, has found their numbers have risen by 27% over the past five years.  Despite this, they remain an endangered species of just 523 individuals confined to just one region.  The data was compiled using a number of methods including: direct sightings, GPS tracking and photographs- to avoid any duplication occurring.  Around 2,500 people participated in the survey

Continue reading ASIATIC LION POPULATION INCREASING

IBERIAN LYNX REINTRODUCTION GAINS TWO NEW CUBS

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Continue reading IBERIAN LYNX REINTRODUCTION GAINS TWO NEW CUBS