Category Archives: Comment

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

Shining A Light On The Red Squirrel

Image courtesy of SCOTLAND: THE BIG PICTURE.Image courtesy of SCOTLAND: THE BIG PICTURE.

Every now and again, you come across a book that is more than just a book.  Something that transcends its primary purpose.  A real labour of love.  The Red Squirrel: A future in the forest is such a book, and much like its subject matter, it needs your help.  A crowdfunding campaign is currently underway to secure the funds required to get the photo book into publication, with just 25 days remaining.  You can find out more about the project and how to contribute to it here.      Continue reading Shining A Light On The Red Squirrel

Rewilding on Dirk Hartog Island

Heartened to hear about an ambitious project to reintroduce 11 locally extinct species to Dirk Hartog Island, off the coast of Western Australia.  The ten mammals and one bird species were once endemic to the island, but their populations declined rapidly following overgrazing by introduced sheep and goats, and from predation by feral cats.  The long-term goal of the ecological restoration project is to return the island’s ecosystem back to how it would have looked and functioned when Dutch explorer, Dirk Hartog, discovered it by chance in 1616. Continue reading Rewilding on Dirk Hartog Island

Delving into De-extinction

Should we resurrect extinct species? If we have the animal’s DNA and the means to reproduce it, is the creature truly extinct? It’s a contentious field of research that’s still in its infancy, but it’s no longer science fiction – its potential is a reality thanks to ground-breaking developments in genetic technology. Conservationists, ecologists and the wider scientific community remain divided on the issue.

Those for it see it as a vital lifeline for critically endangered species, such as the Northern White Rhino. It could boost biodiversity, help restore diminished ecosystems and most profoundly, bring back species that were once thought lost forever. Those against the idea view it as a distraction from conventional conservation practices that could dilute the focus to protect existing species. Why conserve when you can ultimately bring back? Continue reading Delving into De-extinction

More Protection For Pangolins

The words Pangolin and good news rarely appear in the same sentence, however, the world’s most trafficked mammal received much needed worldwide protection today at the CITES summit in South Africa. All species will now benefit from an absolute ban on their international trade with immediate effect, under the most stringent forms of CITES’ regulation. This status is well overdue, with over a million of the species having been slaughtered for their meat and scales over the last ten years.  Continue reading More Protection For Pangolins

The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project

Southern Scotland could once again become a stronghold for this majestic raptor, following over £1 million of funding having now been secured by the initiative from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project seeks to substantially boost their numbers in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, with just three breeding pairs believed to exist in the regions currently. If the plans come to fruition, a further sixteen breeding pairs could be released, reinforcing what is a most precarious population. Continue reading The South of Scotland Golden Eagle Project

Kuterevo Bear Sanctuary

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We visited this refuge during our recent trip to Croatia, where eight of the country’s less fortunate Eurasian Brown Bears reside, having been orphaned within their first year of life primarily due to hunting and road traffic collisions, or rescued from dilapidated zoos. Since 2002 it’s been run almost entirely by volunteers, who depend on donations to build enclosures and cover the daily maintenance of the site and the animal care costs. There are around 1000 living wild in the country, as part of the larger Dinaric population of 2800: the second largest in Central Europe.

Continue reading Kuterevo Bear Sanctuary

Red Squirrel Resurgence

Spotted today in Cardrona Forest, in the Scottish Borders.
Spotted today in Cardrona Forest, in the Scottish Borders.
Hastily taken as it scampered up the tree sounding alarm calls, despite having its mouth full.
Hastily taken as it scampered up the tree sounding alarm calls, despite having its mouth full.

Continue reading Red Squirrel Resurgence