Since 2015, Rewilding Europe works in partnership with The Taurus Foundation in the so-called Tauros Programme. This programme aims to bring back the aurochs as a functional wild animal, by back-breeding the closest relatives of the original aurochs. The aurochs is the ancestor of all cattle and thereby the most important animal in the history of mankind. It is also a keystone species for many European ecosystems but was hunted to its extinction in 1627. However, its DNA is still alive but distributed among a number of the ancient original cattle breeds.
Grazing the landscapes of Europe, the auroch – Europe’s original wild bovine species – once played a vital role in maintaining biodiversity. Today, nearly four centuries after the animal’s extinction, pioneering efforts by Rewilding Europe and the Taurus Foundation are seeing this beneficial herbivore brought back to life. This new animal is called ‘Tauros’.
The breeding programme is founded on a broad, multidisciplinary scientific base, including geneticists, ecologists, molecular biologists, archaeologists, archaeo-zoologists, historians, isotope experts, cattle experts and European cattle breeding organizations.
The breeding activities started in The Netherlands in 2009 and through our partnership, we are now also working in three rewilding areas: Greater Côa Valley (Portugal), Velebit Mountains (Croatia) and Danube Delta (Romania/Ukraine).
The WILD Foundation started its history in Africa and then established a United States based not-for-profit organization in 1974, based in Colorado. The WILD Foundation works for wilderness, wildlife and people in the United States and throughout the world and is the founder and steward of the World Wilderness Congress.
The Large Carnivore Initiative of Europe
Founded in 1996, The Large Carnivore Initiative of Europe has since 4 years had the official status of a Specialist Group within the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The LCIE consists of a group of experts who give their time to help conserve large carnivores in Europe. Its members bring experience from the fields of research on ecological and human-dimensions, wildlife management, hands-on conservation, and from international conservation organisations. These members do not represent their institutions when working for the LCIE, thereby ensuring their independence. Currently, LCIE consists of a network of 40 expert members from 26 European countries, plus Canada.
European Bison Conservation Center
Founded in 2007, the European Bison Conservation Center currently consists of a network of about 200 members, with a coordinating office located at the European Bison Friends Society in Warsaw, Poland. It also has regional centers or representatives in Germany, Poland, Scandinavia, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Russia, Belarus, Hungary and Czech Republic. Legally, EBCC is linked to the European Bison Friends Society, also based in Warsaw. The European Bison Pedigree Book, which tries to keep track of all individuals of the species and their ancestry and genealogy, is an autonomous entity linked to EBCC through a specific agreement. EBCC works closely with the IUCN/SSC Bison Specialist Group and with breeders and owners of European bison across Europe.
BirdLife Europe and Central Asia
BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is one of the six regional offices of BirdLife International, a global Partnership of autonomous, national non-governmental conservation organisations, with a large grassroots membership in 122 countries and territories. BirdLife International’s mission is to conserve wild birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, by working with people in their communities towards sustainability in the use of natural resources.
BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is a formal partner with Rewilding Europe, working together on the project “Promoting and shaping the EU restoration agenda, including TEN-G, through mobilisation of rewilding principles to create a coherent ecological network in Europe” (2017–2019). Funded by WWF Netherlands, this partnership represents a collaboration between Rewilding Europe, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, the WWF European Policy Office, the European Environmental Bureau and German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv). This project came to a conclusion in March 2020, influencing the new EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 under the EU Green Deal.
BirdLife Europe & Central Asia has also partnered with Rewilding Europe to produce the first Wildlife Comeback Report in Europe in 2013. In 2020, this partnership has been renewed to develop an updated version of this report, as well as scientific publications, due in 2022.
European Bird Census Council
The European Bird Census Council (EBCC) is an association under Dutch Law of like-minded expert ornithologists co-operating in a range of ways to improve bird monitoring and atlas work and thereby inform and improve the management and conservation of bird populations in Europe.
EBCC partnered with Rewilding Europe to produce the first Wildlife Comeback Report in Europe in 2013, by providing data and technical knowledge for this publication. In 2020, the partnership has been renewed to develop an updated version of this report, as well as scientific publications, due in 2022.
Dam Removal Europe
The overall ambition of Dam Removal Europe is to restore rivers in Europe that have high natural or cultural importance. Currently, there are many of these rivers in Europe that are fragmented by obsolete dams and weirs. By removing these barriers, we can once again have healthy free-flowing rivers full of fishes for all to benefit.
Dam Removal Europe is a project that allows relevant specialists to connect with one another, share knowledge and inspire new visions for a free-flowing Europe.
In 2015, Rewilding Europe and Rewilding Britain signed a “Collaborative Rewilding Agreement” to join forces in supporting a pan-European movement on rewilding in a number of different ways. This includes, among others, influencing policy, sharing of experiences e.g. through the European Rewilding Network, supporting innovative practice in rewilding and joint communication efforts. One of the outcomes has been the development of rewilding principles, as published in the ‘Call to Action for a Wilder Europe’ in December 2019.