Charismatic Megafauna UK Rewilding

Wild bison released into Kent countryside – video

In Scotland the first such project we became aware of had wild but smaller animals as their focal point. Reforesting and other United Kingdom rewilding initiatives have until now been missing the biggest possible charismatic megafauna:

Wild bison return to UK for first time in thousands of years

The gentle giants released in Kent should transform a commercial pine forest into a vibrant natural woodland

Early on Monday morning, three gentle giants wandered out of a corral in the Kent countryside to become the first wild bison to roam in Britain for thousands of years.

The aim is for the animals’ natural behaviour to transform a dense commercial pine forest into a vibrant natural woodland. Their taste for bark will kill some trees and their bulk will open up trails, letting light spill on to the forest floor, while their love of rolling around in dust baths will create more open ground. All this should allow new plants, insects, lizards, birds and bats to thrive.

The Wilder Blean project, near Canterbury, is an experiment to see how well the bison can act as natural “ecosystem engineers” and restore wildlife. The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.

A more natural woodland should also absorb more carbon, helping to tackle the climate crisis. Global heating was evident as the bison were released, with England in the grip of a heatwave, and the early timing was to allow the bison to reach the shade of the woods before temperatures started to climb.

European bison are the continent’s largest land animal – bulls can weigh a tonne – and were extinct in the wild a century ago, but are recovering through reintroduction projects across Europe.

“The restoration of naturally functioning ecosystems is a vital and inexpensive tool in tackling the climate crisis,” said Evan Bowen-Jones, CEO at Kent Wildlife Trust (KWT). “We want Wilder Blean to mark the beginning of a new era for conservation in the UK. We need to revolutionise the way we restore natural landscapes, relying less on human intervention and more on natural engineers like bison, boar and beaver.”

Read the whole article here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s