Arcadia Fund grant to advance European rewilding

July 23, 2019

We are thrilled to announce that Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin – has awarded Rewilding Europe a significant grant to advance rewilding in Europe.

In winter, adult Dalmatian pelicans go from silvery-grey to a dingier brownish-grey cream colour.
Part of the Arcadia funding will be used to support the recovery of the Dalmatian pelican in south-east Europe.
Jari Peltomaki / Wild Wonders of Europe


The purpose of the grant, which totals nearly $1.8 million, is to significantly increase our rewilding impact over the coming three years. It will amplify the results we have achieved so far and the momentum that has been created for rewilding in Europe.

With this support from Arcadia we can accelerate the rewilding process in the three areas selected for progressive action: supporting wildlife comeback, regulatory work to facilitate critical rewilding action, and the development of innovative rewilding models for natural solutions.

“This grant will allow us to strengthen the core functions of the Rewilding Europe Central Team, in support of rewilding work on the ground,” explains Frans Schepers, Rewilding Europe Managing Director. “This support from Arcadia, for which we are hugely grateful, is very timely for us, as we have just renewed our ambitions as we work towards 2025.


Supporting wildlife comeback

Many European ecosystems suffer from the absence of key wildlife species. In Eastern Europe it is often the lack of large herbivores that frustrates rewilding potential, while in Western Europe carnivores are frequently the missing link.

This Arcadia grant will see a range of measures to support wildlife comeback employed across Rewilding Europe’s operational areas. These include restockings and reintroductions, as well as the creation of no-hunting zones.

Species involved will include large herbivores (European bison, Tauros, horse, chamois), scavengers (vultures) and others like Dalmatian pelican. Scientific and veterinary guidance of breeding and release programmes, feasibility studies (using IUCN criteria), education, local participation and promotional communications will optimise the success of restockings and reintroductions.


Regulatory work

Rewilding Europe is pioneering a number of new, innovative approaches to conservation that need favourable conditions and an enabling policy environment. Such critical rewilding actions are often constrained by regulatory systems that are outdated and difficult to work around.

Despite this, our experience shows that working with pilots – based on specific mandates from authorities – can create more favourable conditions for regulations to be changed by showcasing tangible results.

This grant will allow us to pioneer such new approaches in three main focus areas:

  • the transformation of traditional hunting concessions into wildlife reserves;
  • the reform of policy and regulations to scale up natural grazing with rewilded herbivores;
  • supporting scavenger guilds by maximising  the potential for animal carcasses to be left in nature.


Developing innovative rewilding models for natural solutions

There is growing evidence that natural solutions can significantly mitigate  a range of socio-economic challenges, such as biodiversity loss, flooding, wildfire and climate change. Rewilding Europe has taken the lead in the practical application of such natural solutions by developing and applying innovative rewilding models.

While the financial sector is increasingly interested in investing in such natural solutions, the number of investable and impactful European projects is still lacking. To date, Rewilding Europe has initiated the first business cases related to rewilding forests and peatland restoration. This grant will allow us to increase our capacity in these sectors, enhancing our ability to generate further business cases and further mobilise the financial sector in support of rewilding.


About Arcadia

ArcadiaArcadia is a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. It supports charities and scholarly institutions that preserve cultural heritage and the environment. Arcadia also supports projects that promote open access and all of its awards are granted on the condition that any materials produced are made available for free online. Since 2002, Arcadia has awarded more than $598 million to projects around the world.


Mission Rewilding Europe

Rewilding Europe - Making Europe a wilder placeRewilding Europe’s vision is for wild nature to be recognised as a fundamental part of European heritage, and an essential element in a modern, prosperous and healthy society. Rewilding Europe wants to make Europe a wilder place, with more space for wild nature, wildlife and natural processes. In bringing back the variety of life, we will continue to explore new ways for people to enjoy and earn a fair living from the wild.

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