Portugal, or at least the region in which we stayed, was far richer in wildlife than most if not all of Denmark. The diversity and sheer number of bird species we witnessed far outcompeted anything I’ve seen even in the largest nature reserves in my country. Even so, when we entered the Faia Brava reserve, the difference was immediately noticeable. While the towns and arable fields of the surrounding landscapes had been home to a great number of animals, the reserve was in a league of its own.
The European Commission has approved the LIFE proposal “Conservation of Black and Griffon vultures in the cross-border Rhodope Mountains”, developed by Rewilding Europe in partnership with Rewilding Rhodopes Foundation, Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/Birdlife Bulgaria, WWF Greece, Vulture Conservation Foundation and Hellenic Ornithological Society/BirdLife Greece.
On September 17th, the seventh web-based seminar of the European Rewilding Network took place and this time members from several rewilding sites in Europe discussed how to restore food chains and the ways rewilding contributes to this. The webinar specifically addressed the crucial importance of dead animals in nature and consequently the chances for scavengers feeding upon them, all to restore natural food chains in our European ecosystems: the Circle of Life.
Rewilding Europe shares the concerns of the Vulture Conservation Foundation and BirdLife International that Europe’s vultures are now at extremely high risk. Rewilding Europe supports their efforts for banning veterinary diclofenac in Europe. Both organizations have sent to the EU Commission and the EU member states a formal request for them to start a Referral procedure for a withdrawal of marketing authorization of veterinary diclofenac under Article 35 of Directive 2001/82/EC, based on its risks for vulture populations in Europe.
On January 9, the newly established Italian NGO “Rewilding Apennines” signed a contract with Rewilding Europe, about a 3-year workplan, developed by the two organisations together during the last months of 2013. This after the official announcement the past October during WILD 10, the World Wilderness Congress in Salamanca, Spain, that the Central Apennines have been selected as the sixth area within the Rewilding Europe initiative.
A fresh sunny autumn morning in the late October of 2013 in the Studen Kladenets (Cold Well) Game Reserve in South-East Bulgaria. The colours of the trees are like the design of blankets made by the locals in this region: from green through yellow and reddish to brown. The morning haze is slowly moving from the top of the Yumruk Skala (Feast Rock) down to the smaller hills. The narrow asphalt road along the recently fenced area of a few hectares is almost completely blocked by cars and people.
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.
From the very fragmented, small-landowner landscape in northeastern Portugal, we suddenly come into a big, already quite raw and wild-looking area: the 600 hectare Faia Brava private nature reserve, in the dramatic Côa valley. This is Portugal’s first private reserve and it is owned by Associaçâo Transumância e Natureza, who is working to rewild it, taking away all extractive use and bringing back lost wildlife, as well as protecting the already existing precious locally breeding wildlife: the Bonelli’s eagle, the golden eagle, griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, eagle owl etc. And taking care of the cultural heritage sites in the reserve as well.