New documentary to enhance Portuguese rewilding movement

November 26, 2020

A new documentary “Rewilding: a new path for nature in Portugal” showcases the rewilding efforts of the Rewilding Portugal team and partners. By educating and inspiring viewers, it aims to take rewilding in Portugal to the next level.

Snapshot Rewilding, um novo caminho para a natureza em Portugal
The new documentary portrays the beauty of Portugal’s wild nature and showcases the rewilding efforts of the Rewilding Portugal team and partners.
Rewilding, um novo caminho para a natureza em Portugal


Pioneering production

A new documentary is set to raise awareness of rewilding and the rewilding efforts of the Rewilding Portugal team. The 21-minute film, shot by Portuguese wildlife filmmaker João Cosme and titled “Rewilding: a new path for nature in Portugal”, was shown at a launch event at the Culturgest culture centre in Lisbon. It was enjoyed by around 50 people, including members of Portuguese NGOs and various national agencies, business and media partners, politicians and philanthropists.

“This is the first film produced in Portugal, by a Portuguese filmmaker, about the rewilding work of Portuguese organisations,” says Marta Cálix, a project manager with the Rewilding Portugal team. “By achieving greater recognition and understanding of the rewilding work being carried out by Rewilding Portugal and our partners, as well as the philosophy and vision behind rewilding, we can generate more support for our own efforts and inspire more Portuguese people and organisations to become involved in rewilding.”


A rewilding close-up

Movie poster rewilding documentary Rewilding Portugal
Rewilding: a new path for nature in Portugal.

With funding from the EU’s LIFE Programme and the Endangered Landscapes Programme, rewilding efforts in the Greater Côa Valley rewilding area in northern Portugal began scaling up at the start of 2019. Working with a range of local partners, the Rewilding Portugal team is currently strengthening a 120,000-hectare wildlife corridor between the Malcata mountain range and Douro Valley, restoring natural processes and trophic chains, encouraging wildlife comeback, and driving the development of nature-based tourism. The team is also working to support the endangered Iberian wolf population south of the Douro River through a range of measures that aim to promote coexistence and improve ecological conditions.

The new documentary uses a combination of stunning videography and insightful narration to relate these rewilding efforts to viewers. It features interviews with a number of people involved, including Duarte Cadete, a biologist responsible for detecting the presence of wolves with his dog Alice, Carlos Pacheco, a raptor expert working for Portuguese NGO ATNatureza (a Rewilding Portugal partner), and João Carvalho of the University of Aveiro, who has overseen roe deer monitoring work south of the Douro River. Various members of the Rewilding Portugal team also feature.


A visual spectacle

Filming for the new documentary began in May, with production taking around four months. Much of this time João Cosme spent in the field.

“I think we managed to capture both the beauty of Portuguese wild nature and the rewilding efforts that are already underway,” says the filmmaker. “I’m really happy with the final result. The most important thing is to send a message that rewilding is necessary. It offers a hopeful way forward, for man and nature, both in Portugal and farther afield.”



Where to watch

Following the premiere, “Rewilding: a new path for nature in Portugal” will also be shown at various locations in the district of Guarda (located in the heart of the Greater Côa Valley rewilding area) in March 2021, with a tour now being planned. It is also available to view on YouTube.

Following the screening of the documentary a roundtable discussion was held. The four participants, which included Rewilding Portugal team leader Pedro Prata, discussed three topics – climate change, biodiversity and tourism. The overall aim was to explore how biodiversity and rewilding can be better supported in Portuguese policy.

This documentary was made possible by the support of the LIFE WolFlux project (funded by the EU’s LIFE Programme), the Scaling Up Rewilding in the Greater Côa Valley project (funded by the Endangered Landscapes Programme), and the Barcelona Zoo Foundation. It showcases the collaborative work of Rewilding Portugal, Rewilding Europe, ATNatureza, Zoo Logical and the University of Aveiro.


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