Beaver and lynx should be reintroduced says charity
A leading environmental charity wants to see the “rewilding” of Scotland – starting with the reintroduction of beavers.
With the Scottish Government due to announce the results of a five year trial reintroduction of the mammals at Knapdale in Argyll later in the year, the John Muir Trust (JMT) says the “keystone species” must be returned.
This would allow further reintroductions of animals once native to Scotland but which have become extinct – such as the lynx, which could soon be the subject of a reintroduction attempt in Aberdeenshire.
JMT chief executive Stuart Brooks said: “We would like to see large parts of Britain set aside for what has become known as rewilding – which means repairing damaged ecosystems, restoring natural processes and reintroducing lost species, including the beaver to create a richer, wilder environment.”
It is not about excluding people, imposing unwanted policies on rural communities or damaging peoples’ livelihoods
The trust believes that such an approach would be “visionary”, benefitting not just nature, but also people and communities, especially in remote areas.
Rewilding pockets of towns and cities could also play a role in bringing nature into more lives.
Brooks said: “The trust has taken a rewilding approach to the management of its properties for 30 years, long before the term was coined.
“Rewilding is about intervening to repair damage and restart natural processes – for example, by managing deer to allow native woodlands to regenerate; or by re-introducing missing species, such as beavers, that perform key functions in our ecosystems.
“That in turn will ultimately allow nature to take its own course and be more resilient in the face of climate change.
“It is not about excluding people, imposing unwanted policies on rural communities or damaging peoples’ livelihoods.
“We recognise that rewilding is not suitable everywhere, for example, in areas of high agricultural value.
“But for other areas it can provide the step-change we need to bring back the full diversity of our natural heritage. Much of our land is impoverished – for humans and wildlife – and we believe that returning nature in these areas to its former glory would benefit everyone.
“Our hills, rivers and seas should be teeming with wildlife that people will want to see and experience. By bringing visitors from all over the world, some of our most fragile communities in our most remote areas could start to thrive once again, as is happening in other parts of Europe where nature has been encouraged to flourish.”