Something I wrote…
Good article! My 2d worth;
The word rewilding has become synonymous with the reintroduction of large carnivores for a lot of people, maybe most people, outside the conservation world (thanks Monbiot). It sometimes provokes very strong adverse reactions and even ridicule. I have found it has become unhelpful, certainly in any circumstances where I’d like to see a more naturalistic approach but for all sorts of obvious reasons carnivores aren’t on the agenda at all. I’ve started saying “re-naturalisation” and people seem to be much more ready to engage with that term because they don’t perceive it as a threat or reject it as a stupid idea before the conversation has even started.
My other unrelated point. I visited Oostvaardersplassen in the mid 1990s and it was fabulous. An inspiring example of what vision and space could achieve. I saw it again about 10 years ago and was shocked – all the trees were dead, dead animals littered the ground, and the living ones were skeletal. It was an appalling indictment. Any re-naturalisation project that can’t include carnivores, either within the fence or within the wider landscape, cannot be allowed to simply use starvation as a means of population control. It if does the whole approach will be widely discredited in the public eye as cruel and unacceptable. Free ranging deer starving for lack of wolves is an argument FOR a more naturalistic approach, starving animals confined behind a fence next to a major suburban commuter rail line is asking for condemnation.
Humane culling has to be part of the package whenever there’s a fence and no predators involved. I should be all for an Oostvaardersplassen-type approach, but I was horrified at what I saw. We can’t let that happen here.