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The rewilding of Britain: Species that may be reintroduced

The rewilding of Britain is generating a lot of publicity recently, with many species being talked about making a reappearance across the country. For example, the lynx has been considered a suitable predator to control the current booming deer population. In the same breath, there has been talk of wolves, thought to have been all but extinct during the reign on Henry VII, returning to the British countryside. Countryfile presenter Chris Packham is a public supporter of rewilding Britain, in order to “revitalise our living systems”. But aside from the wolves and lynx, what other species would benefit Britain? We have taken a look at some of the species below:

Wild Boar

Rewilding Britain: Reintroducing the Wild Boar — Fur Feather & Fin Wild boars burrow around the floor of woodland, which increases the assortment of plants that can grow there and encourage new tree seedlings to break through ground. Boar homes - also known as wallows — act as a habitat for insects, amphibians and water-loving plants. Currently, there are boars that have escaped from farms roaming the countryside, but the government has a policy of allowing landowners to decide whether they are allowed to survive or not, so they are currently threatened.

White Tailed Eagle

Rewilding Britain: Reintroducing the White Tailed Eagle — Fur Feather & Fin This breed of eagle was once prominent across the UK, but is believed to have been wiped out in Britain in 1916, through egg collecting and general hunting. It was reintroduced to the isle of Rùm in Scotland during 1975 and has since spread along the Scottish coast. In Finland, the eagle has restricted the invasion of the American mink — and the same could happen in the UK.

Beaver

Rewilding Britain: Reintroducing the Beaver — Fur Feather & Fin The first wild beavers in Britain were sighted earlier this year and have even bred in the River Otter in East Devon. Beavers benefit rivers in many ways, including reducing the risk of flooding. They also help create environments for other wildlife. There have, however, been questions asked as to whether the beaver dams will result in certain fish not making it to breeding grounds and therefore having a negative effect on some species. Their reintroduction in small areas is being closely monitored to see how they affect local wildlife and countryside.

Grey Whale

Rewilding Britain: Reintroducing the Grey Whale — Fur Feather & Fin Up until around 400 years ago, Grey Whales could be found feeding in shallow bays and estuaries around Britain, until they were hunted to the point of extinction. The only remaining populations can be found in the Pacific Ocean and it is yet uncertain as to whether it is both physically and logistically possible to return the whale to Britain, as they may have to be airlifted to our waters. If they were to return, they would not only have an effect on water ecosystems, but also improve tourism, as the Grey Whale is the most popular species seen whilst whale watching.
  • If you are heading out to view the wildlife, why not take a look at our range of country jackets, to ensure you are suitably dressed for any and all weather.
  Photos courtesy of Jeremy Bolwell, Littleisland lighthouse, Sven Začek & Merrill Gosho, under Creative Commons

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