We continue to make steady progress as we seek to develop businesses which will support our rewilding objectives. We’re working both to identify and support existing businesses which are relevant to our rewilding areas – and also to design some new businesses where we feel there is an opportunity to create something different and complementary.
For many years, people in the Netherlands and surrounding countries were talking about it. Last spring, it finally happened. The Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser sturio) was reintroduced to his former homeland, the Rhine system! Only a few people know that this prehistoric fish, reaching sizes of even 3,5 meters, once flourished there. Nowadays the sturgeon is just as endangered as the black rhino.
Rewilding Europe aims to rewild at least one million hectares of Europe by 2020, consisting of ten areas, each at least 100,000 ha, which together reflect a wide selection of European regions.
Looking back at a fantastic week in the ”Pantanal of Europe”, where I did a photo mission for Rewilding Europe, all well organised by Rewilding Europe’s man on the ground – Cristian Mititelu. Boat trips, canoe trips, horse cart rides, hikes and ultra-light flights through or over the different habitats of this huge and to a great part still pretty wild area. And it is getting wilder…
Site visits in the company of ecologists tend to be fun. If these ecologists come with a long-term vision on the landscape, the trip becomes wild. I had the pleasure of the company of Frans Schepers and Wouter Helmer in the Velebit mountains of Croatia, when we visited one of Rewilding Europe’s pilot sites, together with staff from the implementing office of WWF’s Mediterranean Programme.
From 26 to 30 March, Rewilding Europe organized a training seminar in The Netherlands for all the five project teams from the different European countries. The main subject was on natural grazing and communication, as these are two very important and challenging subjects in all our rewilding projects. This was the second training seminar that we organized, after the successful one on conservation enterprise development in Finland in October 2011.
Suppose there was a seasonal migration of enormous herds of wild horses, deer, bison and other herbivores in Europe. Thousands of animals that moved from summer pastures in the mountains to sheltered valleys in winter, or from open forests and grassy steppe areas in spring to rivers and other water spots in the dry seasons.
Wild horses have been an intricate part of the wildlife of Europe since hundreds of thousands of years. During historical times, wild horses have been described by contemporaries from the ancient period, untill the 19th century AD. Herodotos, the Greek historian of the fifth century BC talks about wild living horses somewhere in present day Belorussia. Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist living in the first century AD, describes that vast herds of wild horses were living north of the Alps.
Since a few years, I was hearing stories from friends that it was fairly easy to see Iberian lynx in the wild. I thought this was quite remarkable for such a rare and elusive cat, however with a couple of friends we decided to try our luck in February this year, a time of year when the species is very active and territorial.
With the economic value of wildlife as its special focus, a seminar called ”LARGE 2012” was held at the Museum of Modern Arts in Stockholm, Sweden on January 31, organised by the Swedish Ecotourism Association together with the ”Big Five” national large carnivore information center.