Mentioning wolves reminded me of this current scheme to return a little bit of Scotland to its original state of wildness, complete with the wolves, bears, lynx etc. our ancestors wiped out (albeit behind big fences). Fair to say, as plans go, it’s not met with universal, unreserved approval.
Every so often, someone raises the possibility of re-introducing the wolf to Scotland. The idea never makes much headway, though there’s a lot of people, including me, who find it vaguely appealing. Unfortunately, it’s my heart rather than my head that likes the idea. It’s been a good 300 years since wolves disappeared from the UK, and bringing them back would be trying to rewrite history on a fairly major scale. Even though lots of people think of the Highlands as wilderness, the truth is there are too many sheep, cattle and lucrative shooting estates up there for a big predator like the wolf to be welcomed with open arms. I’m a great believer in the idea that the needs of wildlife should sometimes be given priority over the needs and preferences of humans (seems only fair, since we’ve spent the last few thousand years prioritising ourselves over all other living things), but the obstacles to wolf re-introduction are almost certainly overwhelming.
It’s fun to daydream, though, and it would be a dramatic scene: wolves and red deer stags locked in life or death struggles on the slopes above Loch Ness. That would really give Bill Oddie something to get excited about on his TV shows …
Anyway, here are some links to other – slightly more practical and important – efforts to help wildlife maintain its toehold on these crowded islands:
– maybe the odd little bit of (non-wolf) re-introduction, just for fun.