Thursday, October 27, 2005
Beavers, Reindeer + Lynx to make a come back in the UK?The Wilderness Foundation has proposed that 800,000 hectares of Britain should be managed as wilderness reserves.
Such a scheme could help to revitalise rural communities, where farming is likely to become uneconomic over the next 20 years, and allow the re-introduction of species that used to live in Britain, such as beaver, reindeer, lynx, auroch + elk, but which have been eliminated by a combination of hunting, land clearance and intensive agriculture.
This idea has already been supported by major wildlife groups such as the WWF and the RSPCA, and major land owners such as the National Trust and the Forestry Commission.
Proposals have also been presented to the UK Treasury and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
So far, locations which might be suitable for "re-wilding" have been identified in Snowdonia, the Scottish Highlands and the Fens of East Anglia. A further 10 islands, moors and mountain areas have also been be identified as being suitable for native herbivores. Although the possibility of introducing more controversial large predators such as wolves and brown bears seems to have been sidelined, at least for the time being.
The existing proposals build on experiences in South Africa, where people have been encouraged to co-habit with wildlife using a variety of buffer zones, and in Holland, where reclaimed land at Oostvandersplassen has been set aside for re-introduced wildlife.
As the economic case for change gets stronger, the loss of European agricultural subsidies accelerates and the improvements in the quality of national life associated with habitat restoration become clearer perhaps this is an idea who's day has finally come.
... in a separate development six European beavers have just been released on 500 acre estate in the English county of Gloucestershire.
Posted 1:48 pm by Matt Prescott