Tuesday, 30 December 2008


'Rewilding' is about trying to return some of our countryside to the wilderness state it might have been in hundreds or thousands of years ago. There's an article in the Times about it:

Welcome to rewilding, a movement that is radicalising conservation biology, turning what had been a scientific backwater into one of its most controversial areas. What the rewilders want is nothing less than the reversal of thousands of years of domestication, returning vast tracts of countryside to the way they looked thousands of years ago. They believe the best way to achieve this is by bringing back the biggest and fiercest animals of all – the elk, wolves, lynx and even bears that roamed Britain 10,000 years ago at the end of the Pleistocene era.

It sounds extreme but some of Britain’s most respected wildlife and conservation organisations, including the National Trust, are buying into the idea.

This week the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, which already supports the reintroduction of beaver to Scotland, will suggest northern Britain could support about 450 lynx.

There's a related story on the BBC website about reintroducing lynx, one of the aims being to control the rapidly expanding deer population:

Until recently, the "big cat" was thought to have died out 4000 years ago, but new research shows it survived into medieval times and died out as a result of persecution by humans.

Professor Macdonald's report, co-written by his Wildlife Conservation Research Unit colleague, Dr Dawn Burnham, states: "The recently identified human involvement in its demise strengthens the case for reintroducing lynx in Britain.

"Lynx would most likely hunt roe, sika and juvenile red deer, supplementing their diet with hares and foxes."

The report highlights the growing population of "free-ranging" deer species in Britain as a major cause of damage to protected woodland.


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