Rewilding Britain - bears and wolves come to a wood near you
The latest environmental craze seems to be the idea of 'rewilding' that's reintroducing species long extinct in Britain back into the British countryside.
For a while it was seen as just a cranky idea tried out by rich new money lairds in the Scottish Highlands but now even the usually stuffy National Trust is giving the idea its backing.
So if you go down to the woods today, well sometime soon, beware the bear...
You are on safari amid lynx, bears and elk. The wetlands around you are dominated by small lakes created by beaver dams. In the distance a wolf howls.
Nothing unusual perhaps – except that this is not northern Canada but Scotland sometime in the near future.
Down in the Lake District, the neat fields and walls that make the area one of Britain’s most manicured “wildernesses” are also changing. The native woodlands of the Ennerdale valley are spreading, Highland cattle have replaced sheep and there has even been talk of reintroducing beaver and bison.
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.
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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada