Looking back at a fantastic week in the ”Pantanal of Europe”, where I did a photo mission for Rewilding Europe, all well organised by Rewilding Europe’s man on the ground – Cristian Mititelu. Boat trips, canoe trips, horse cart rides, hikes and ultra-light flights through or over the different habitats of this huge and to a great part still pretty wild area. And it is getting wilder…
Site visits in the company of ecologists tend to be fun. If these ecologists come with a long-term vision on the landscape, the trip becomes wild. I had the pleasure of the company of Frans Schepers and Wouter Helmer in the Velebit mountains of Croatia, when we visited one of Rewilding Europe’s pilot sites, together with staff from the implementing office of WWF’s Mediterranean Programme.
From 26 to 30 March, Rewilding Europe organized a training seminar in The Netherlands for all the five project teams from the different European countries. The main subject was on natural grazing and communication, as these are two very important and challenging subjects in all our rewilding projects. This was the second training seminar that we organized, after the successful one on conservation enterprise development in Finland in October 2011.
The Iberian Peninsula is one of the oldest inhabited territories in Europe. In Western Iberia man always lived in and with nature resulting in a spectacular landscape with dehesas, mountain ridges and valleys with steep cliffs. Right now, the situation is changing.
Rewilding Europe has started with the design of a Wildlife Recovery Programme, focusing on large herbivores to start with. A working group of dedicated specialists, Rewilding Europe’s Wildlife Team, has prepared an overview of all the wildlife restocking and reintroduction plans that we have developed for the five projects. Four species were selected to focus on: European bison, European wild horse, Aurochs and kulan.
In late August and in the beginning of September people in The Netherlands and Belgium welcomed the first wolves in their countries since more than 100 years! Two countries with rapidly increasing numbers of wild herbivores in their natural areas. During the same period wild horses from The Netherlands were released in Latvia and Bulgaria, countries rich in wolves. Is this a coincidence?