Today, Wouter Helmer, co-founder and Rewilding Director of Rewilding Europe, received a prestigious Dutch conservation award, the ‘Groeneveld Award’ (Groeneveldprijs) at the Groeneveld Castle in Baarn, the Netherlands. The award council report describes Wouter Helmer as ‘an instigator of modern ecology, a brilliant and connecting thinker and a great communicator.
Tag: Wouter Helmer
Traditionally, nature conservationists are not trained in business development and entrepreneurship. It is often assumed that nature conservation related professions are guided by ecological and sustainable principles which, therefore, define the educational design of nature conservation curricula. However, the uncertain financial contexts for nature conservation and persistent competing claims by diverse stakeholders concerned, require alternative professional competences to address current conservation challenges.
Suppose there was a seasonal migration of enormous herds of wild horses, deer, bison and other herbivores in Europe. Thousands of animals that moved from summer pastures in the mountains to sheltered valleys in winter, or from open forests and grassy steppe areas in spring to rivers and other water spots in the dry seasons.
The disappearance of grazing herds of sheep and goats transformed large areas of the Mediterranean mountain landscape into forest with dense undergrowth and scrub. These landscapes are particularly susceptible to large fires and extremely dry summers due to climate change increase the chances of this. But with the return of native herbivores such as deer, ibex, wild horses and wild cattle, semi-natural landscapes, which are much less vulnerable to fires, are once again formed.
It was 25 years ago when I saw a tortoise for the last time, as a researcher of perhaps the richest area of reptiles in Europe: Thrace. Even Egyptian vulture, imperial eagle and black vulture fed on reptiles there. And it appeared that the majestic golden eagle, elsewhere picking young ibex and chamois off the rocks, was taking almost 100 tortoises a year per eagle chick back to the nest.