According to the Belgian TV-show “Dieren in nesten”, The European bison, the wolf, the brown bear, the wolverine, and the lynx are the “The Big 5 of Europe” – the continent’s five most impressive wild mammals. All these five are – and especially so the European bison which ranked as number 1 – among the symbolical species for Rewilding Europe and emblematic for the wildlife comeback in Europe.
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The Dutch rewilding area ‘Gelderse Poort’ is the first member of the European Rewilding Network, the newest initiative of Rewilding Europe aiming to connect and unite rewilding initiatives and activities all over Europe.
Since the concept of rewilding was defined and expanded by conservation biologists Michael Soulé and Reed Noss in a paper published in 1998, projects and initiatives aiming to restore large wilderness areas, natural processes, corridors or keystone species have flourished all around the world.
On 23 September, the stunning Dutch film “De Nieuwe Wildernis” (“The New Wilderness”) will premiere in Concertgebouw Amsterdam. Three days later, on 26 September you can enjoy it in cinemas. Its magnificent two minute trailer is already off and running in cinemas.
It is already pitch dark when I arrive in the small town of Midwolda, in the far North of the Netherlands. I call Dirk Brul, the manager of Ennemaborgh and ask him for the key to the barn, my hotel for the night. I will not sleep alone.
“Insights from the pedigree on the social structure of free-roaming Konik horses (Equus caballus) in a Dutch reserve” by prof. Amos Bouskila, dept. of Life Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.
Wild horses have been an intricate part of the wildlife of Europe since hundreds of thousands of years. During historical times, wild horses have been described by contemporaries from the ancient period, untill the 19th century AD. Herodotos, the Greek historian of the fifth century BC talks about wild living horses somewhere in present day Belorussia. Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist living in the first century AD, describes that vast herds of wild horses were living north of the Alps.
In a recent, three-day period I had wild encounters of similar sorts on two continents. Both encounters tell a story of past and current “re-wilding,” enabled through the vision and dedication of people and organizations that understand the essential role of wildness in a healthy and sane planet earth. We need these positive stories as much as we need the return of wildness that they chronicle.