Rewilding means more than recovering wildlife populations and restoring landscapes. People are an equally important and integral component of the rewilding dynamic too. From bison rangers in the Southern Carpathians and nature guides in the Oder Delta to volunteers in the Central Apennines and entrepreneurs in the Velebit Mountains, Rewilding Europe’s work continues to touch and transform people’s lives across the continent. Four interviews showcase the diversity of this impact.
Located on the edge of the Greater Côa Valley in northern Portugal, the Vale das Lobas Nature & Health Sanctuary is working to reconnect people with restored nature and stimulate the local economy. Its addition to the European Rewilding Network takes membership to 62 across 27 countries.
With an enhanced website and more enticing holiday offerings than ever, the company is well-placed to take advantage of a resurgence in nature-based tourism.
The tourism sector has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. This year’s second European Rewilding Network webinar saw 44 participants come together to discuss ways to mitigate its impact on nature-based tourism, and to accelerate recovery.
Ongoing measures to reconnect Lake Kartal with neighbouring lakes and the River Danube are seeing wildlife populations rebound and driving the development of the local economy.
Since 2011, arctic fox safaris not just generate money and attract new guests to the Helags mountain station in Sweden, but also helps the arctic fox to recover. Yet another proof that ecotourism can support the wildlife comeback.
The small municipalities of Gioia dei Marsi and Lecce nei Marsi in the Central Apennines have decided to bet on nature and to find new ways to earn money from the wilderness on their own “door step”. Creating new opportunities for local businesses and at the same time ensuring an even better protection of those areas. Land abandonment and depopulation are problems that hundreds of regional and EU initiatives so far have failed to solve, in spite of uncountable amounts in subsidies. But now, thanks to the beginning return of wild nature, these problems could instead be made into opportunity. Gioia dei Marsi and Lecce nei Marsi give a good example how the problems are turned into opportunities.
Right at dawn, the first eagle lands outside. A magnificent adult Golden eagle! 15 metres away. Through my telephoto lens I can see straight into the amber-coloured, piercing eyes of the eagle. The eagle gaze is not easily forgotten. I have seen golden eagles thousands of times, but almost always only at rather long distance, through powerful binoculars or telescopes. They are wonderful to see every time, but seeing them up close is a completely new dimension.