Last week, bears and wolves were introduced to British woodlands for the first time in 1,000 years. Conservationist Chris Packham shares his views on rewilding, and explains why the UK is still so far behind the rest of Europe.
Want to see colonies of flamingos? Head not to Lake Natron in Tanzania, but to Tarn in south-west France. Ibex and chamois? Consider Vanoise National Park, in the French Alps. Wolves and bears? Look to the Carpathian Mountains of eastern Europe, a far cheaper option than the US Rockies. For wildlife holidays close to home, the sky really is the limit.
In terms of conservation, Europe is many grades ahead of Britain. It has much more space and fewer people, creating the right kinds of habitat for animals and minimising conflict with humans. We’re a very overcrowded island by comparison. There’s a fantastic project called Rewilding Europe. In eight key areas they are reintroducing species such as bison sustainably, alongside human communities. These projects are inspiring – and their creators have thought of everything. There’s even a bank offering low-interest loans for people who want to set up sustainable businesses there.
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