To meet the challenges and opportunities, we have extended our central team with a number of key positions, most of them to assist at the operational level and to support the rewilding projects.
Rewilding Europe has signed a production agreement to develop a major film and a TV-series, with EMS Films (Netherlands) and Gebrüder Beetz Filmproduktion (Germany). The aim is to showcase and document the rewilding of our continent, which is happening in front of our eyes, and the role that Rewilding Europe plays in creating more wild areas, wilderness and promoting Europe as a wildlife destination.
One of the programme goals of Rewilding Europe is “by 2020, rewild 1 million ha (10,000 km²) across 10 places in Europe covering different regions and biomes, including areas of both land and sea”. The rewilding concept was introduced at the “EC Presidency Conference on Wilderness and Large Natural Habitat Areas” in May 2009, and the participants were invited to submit nominations for potential model areas.
From the start in October 2011, serious efforts were made to influence the reform of the Nature and Landscape Protection Act in Slovakia, which could radically improve the set-up of national parks and other protected areas, as well as reduce the negative impacts of forestry and hunting. The fate of the bill now depends on the politics of the new social-democratic party, the winner of March 10 elections.
The comeback of European Bison in free-living herds of more than 100 animals in, at least, five areas is one of the targets of Rewilding Europe’s wildlife recovery programme for the coming ten years. To achieve this, Rewilding Europe commissioned Flaxfield Nature Consultancy to draw up an action plan and prepare two reintroductions of European Bison in the next two years.
After more than 190 years the beaver is back in the Danube Delta. Rangers of the Biosphere Reserve found the first beaver lodge upstream Tulcea in January 2012. Two dead beavers were found already in 2011 in the central parts of the delta. The closest permanent population is found in the Ialomita River, originating from animals reintroduced from Germany to the Brasov region in 1989.
Suitable landscape and socio-economic features for rewilding and protection of already existing wilderness values in Southern Carpathians were analysed in January and February by a team of Romanian and international experts, including representatives from all protected areas that will be affected. This will help the future development of the area with core sites, transition and buffer zones as well as adequate management regimes. It will also serve as the starting point for a wider “wilderness strategy” for the whole region from Brasov in the east to the Danube River in the west.
With official start in January 2012, the Velebit rewilding area is now up and running, seeking opportunities to significantly enhance the local chamois population. All three parks in the area – Northern Velebit National Park, Paklenica National Park, and Velebit Nature Park – see this as a priority. Suitable source populations for restocking exist in various parts of the Balkans (e.g. Montenegro, Serbia, and Bulgaria).
Since the beginning of our work in Western Iberia last year, a lot of attention has been given to bringing back wildlife, including rewilding horses and bovines. To scale up the efforts in the Faia Brava Reserve in north-eastern Portugal, a 25,000 ha area along the Côa River has been selected for the return of Iberian ibex, red deer and roe deer.
Rewilding Europe team is delighted to have received funding from Adessium Foundation for the purpose of developing conservation-based enterprises.