A new grant from the Cartier for Nature foundation will support rewilding in both the Southern Carpathians and Iberian Highlands, with a primary focus on the reintroduction of free-roaming herbivores.
A substantial new grant from Cartier for Nature is set to advance rewilding in the Southern Carpathians of Romania and Iberian Highlands of Spain. The latter is set to become Rewilding Europe’s tenth rewilding landscape, following extensive preparations over the last three years. Cartier for Nature, a fund of French high-end watch and jewellery maker Cartier, was established in 2020 with the aim of preserving and enhancing biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.
Increasing natural grazing through the reintroduction of free-roaming wild herbivores is (or will be) a key component of rewilding in both landscapes, with the new funding helping to support this. Restoring populations of iconic grazers such as European bison and wild horses in landscapes can increase biodiversity by opening up habitats and preventing encroachment by shrubs. It can also reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, boost carbon storage and climate change resilience, stimulate the development of nature-based economies, and generate a new pride in local nature.
Julien Semelin, Head of Environment Investments at Cartier for Nature, is excited about the new partnership.
“We want to support progressive conservation initiatives such as Rewilding Europe which are fully aligned with our values and which have a proven model and proven impact. Wildlife comeback is also something that resonates strongly with us. We believe returning wild herbivores in both these landscapes will really help to rebalance the local ecosystem, delivering long-term benefits to both nature and people.”
Towards wilder landscapes
The Southern Carpathians of Romania are among the wildest landscapes in Europe, famous for their diverse and abundant populations of large carnivores, such as brown bear, grey wolves and Eurasian lynx. Conversely, populations of large grazing animals here are greatly diminished, largely due to intense hunting pressure. Rewilding Europe has been working with local partners such as WWF Romania to reintroduce European bison – a keystone species that disappeared from Romania over 200 years ago – in this area since 2014, with the free-roaming population now numbering around 110 animals. Funding from Cartier for Nature will enable us to release an additional 25 bison, which will boost population viability, further enhance local food webs, and support continued growth of the local nature-based economy.
The Iberian Highlands, which are part of a range of mountains known as the Iberian System (Sistema Ibérico) in central-eastern Spain, will become Rewilding Europe’s tenth and newest landscape. Rural depopulation here has seen a decline in grazing by domesticated livestock. To compensate for this, Rewilding Europe and partners will work to enhance natural grazing by restoring wildlife populations, and reintroducing horses and kulan (wild donkeys). This will increase biodiversity, benefit scavenging species such as vultures, and create enabling conditions for the comeback of carnivores (Iberian wolves and Iberian lynx).
Cartier for Nature
Cartier for Nature was founded in Geneva in 2020 to strengthen Cartier’s commitments to protect the environment. The foundation reinforces Cartier’s longstanding engagement with social and environmental initiatives and collaborates with non-profit organisations to accelerate nature conservation. It advocates the principle of nature-based solutions, supporting efforts that help sustainably protect, manage and restore ecosystems for the benefit of people and nature.
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