Rewilding Britain –

Reintroductions Britain has lost many keystone species. These species have a role as ecosystem engineers and are essential to a natural environment. Top predators, such as the lynx and wolf, drive ecological processes from the top of the food chain to the bottom. This is known as a trophic cascade. If you throw a large predator into the mix you’ll find that the deer behaviour changes, this is otherwise known as ‘the landscape of fear. The predator keeps the deer herds moving, staying alert, which means they graze less, spreading out their foraging. It shows that living systems can’t function properly where large animals are missing. That’s why the reintroduction of keystone species is a key element of rewilding.

Across Britain, We’ve suffered more deforestation and lost more of our large mammals than any European country except Ireland. Many places where you would expect wildlife to thrive have been reduced to wet deserts. The seabed has been smashed and stripped of its living creatures.


Lynx help woodlands regenerate by controlling roe deer and invasive species such as sika deer. They can also reduce fox numbers. Suitability for reintroduction: Excellent. These shy, elegant animals prefer woodland. They would have ample tree cover in parts of Scotland and northern England. They live across Europe and have been successfully released into Switzerland.

Wild boar

Wild boar can increase biodiversity, through rooting and wallowing. They are highly effective bracken destroyers, creating space for trees and other plants to grow.


Wolves can turn grassland into forest and create habitats that hundreds of species can use, by keeping deer on the move so that they can’t overgraze fragile tree seedlings. Wolves are likely to reduce the loss of arable crops. Wolves live in a huge range of habitats and human population densities. They present a very low risk to people. Wolves have re-established themselves across most countries in Europe. They are a tourist draw despite being shy creatures that avoid people where possible. They suffer from many centuries of demonisation and mythmaking.


They help to maintain a mosaic of habitats: a mixture of woodland, scrub and glades that creates a wide variety of niches for other species. The surviving European bison is therefore a suitable surrogate for this extinct species. Bison have been successfully reintroduced in Europe in places such as Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.


Including Fin, Sperm, Humpback, Right and Orca whales. Whales can help to support the entire ecosystem. They often feed at depth and release the nutrients in the surface waters when they poo. This fertilises the plant plankton on which most of the other life of the sea depends. The great whales are probably responsible for burying millions of tonnes of carbon in the deep ocean every year, as plant plankton absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and pulls it down to the abyss when it dies and sinks.


The Scottish wildcat is closely related to, but not the ancestor of, the domestic cat. Not much bigger than a domestic cat, it is fast and strong enough to kill young deer and hares.


This enormous deer is semi-amphibious, able to submerge itself completely, close its nostrils and feed underwater. Submerged vegetation provides a higher proportion of its diet than it does for the hippopotamus.

The study and application of rewilding has become much more prevalent in recent years with many articles and scientific papers being released on the subject. Despite being still in its infancy, there are many successful current cases of rewilding. The development of rewilding may signify a new environmental narrative in which people can readily challenge governments to take actions to change the recovery and wellness in nature.

Reintroductions should not happen unless there is widespread public support and consent. The final decision should be taken with local communities and landowners.

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Reintroductions of interest

Wild boar rooting

“wild boar rooting” by minicooper93402 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Yellowstone transformation


Fin whale

“Fin Whale” by c.buelow is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Sperm whale

“Sperm Whale.” by Bernard Spragg is marked with CC0 1.0


“Humpback Whales Feeding 2” by Peat Bakke is licensed under CC BY 2.0


“Splash the orca” by auntie rain is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Wildcat Wild cat 2

Moose underwater

Boris Johnson

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