Rewilding the UK: Living in the Past or Preparing for the Future?
Could we really hear a wild wolf’s howl in Britain again? If human activity is to blame for the wolf’s demise in the UK, along with the local extinction of bears, lynx and beavers, is it now time to redress the balance and bring these captivating creatures back? Have your say - join the debate.
Is it time to bring wild lynx, wolves and bears back to the UK? Have your say - join the debate.
The UK was once a home to several large mammal species that played important roles within our ecosystems. From lions, hyaena, hippo and elephants that freely roamed where London now exists, to species such as wolves, bears, lynx, beaver, elk and wild boar. The demise of these large mammals is believed to be largely linked to human activity.
The concept of "rewilding" areas of the UK countryside with species such as wolves, bear and lynx (as well as more exotic species) is increasingly being considered by scientists and conservation practitioners. Sea eagles and beavers have already returned to parts of the UK thanks to reintroduction programmes, but such initiatives are controversial.
Those in favour of rewilding believe it’s a debt that we should repay to these animals – and not only that, but it could make our ecosystems more robust, provide economic benefits through tourism, and aid conservation management. Those against the concept say the wildlife would be a threat to rural livelihoods and farming, a danger to humans, and distract us from other vulnerable species which are already present in UK landscapes. So what is the future of rewilding in the UK? Can these animals co-exist with people in our present day landscapes? Is it even in our interests to have them back? At this exciting Earthwatch event, we will be joined by a panel of experts - including scientists, practitioners, and representatives of the farming industry – to deepen our understanding and challenge our perspectives on what is a complex and current conservation conundrum. Have your say – join the debate.
The Chair is Kate Humble, TV Presenter and farmer.
Kate Humble is a writer and presenter. Last year saw the launch of Humble by Nature. Based on a working farm in Monmouthshire, Kate and her husband Ludo run courses in food, rural skills and animal husbandry.
Andrew Bauer is Deputy Director of Policy, NFU Scotland.
Dr. Cristina-Eisenberg is is a forest ecologist, expert wildlife tracker, and an Earthwatch scientist, leading the project Tracking Wolves and Fire Through Canada.
Jonathan Hughes is CEO of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scotland’s leading environmental charity..
Dr. Paul Jepson directs Oxford University’s MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management.
Prof. Dr. William MacDonald Megill is Associate Dean, Learning & Teaching at Rhine Waal University of Applied Sciences, Germany. He is also an Earthwatch scientist.
Sue Holden, Executive Director for Earthwatch Europe, will open proceedings, while Prof. David Macdonald,CBE. WildCru, Oxford University will give closing thoughts.
The Earthwatch lecture series is kindly supported by: