New insights into wildlife comeback
In September 2022, a new and updated Wildlife Comeback Report commissioned by Rewilding Europe was launched, which provides the latest and state-of-the-art insights, opportunities and challenges for wildlife comeback at a European scale. Experts from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), BirdLife International and the European Bird Census Council have been working on this science-based, peer-reviewed overview of the comeback of a range of European wildlife species. Presenting changes in numbers and distribution, it will enable a better understanding of why some European animals are faring better than others.
In 2013, the first Wildlife Comeback Report was published to learn more about wildlife comeback in Europe, and to better support it going forwards. The Wildlife Comeback Report describes the comeback of selected bird and mammal species that have shown a comeback over the past 40-50 years.
The production of this new Wildlife Comeback report is funded by Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin -, WWF Netherlands, and the Dutch Postcode Lottery.
Experts from all over Europe worked together on this state-of-the-art publication.
The new report will give insights in the recovery of 50 European species.
The new report will show species trends over an average of 43 years.
Six mammals, six birds and one reptile species have been added in addition to the previous report.
Understanding and embracing recovery
Supporting wildlife comeback is one of the core objectives of Rewilding Europe’s mission. Either by creating the conditions for wildlife to return of its own accord or by reintroducing animals into habitats where they are missing and cannot bounce back on their own. The unprecedented rate at which biodiversity is currently declining makes the urgent prioritisation of supporting wildlife comeback all the more critical.
Despite this overall decline, however, there are also reasons for optimism. Quite a number of wildlife species have made a spectacular return across Europe over the last four decades, proving that wild nature is resilient and can recover if conditions are suitable. Factors such as increased legal protection, the creation of corridors between protected areas, recovery of prey species, reintroductions and other population support measures, together with an ever greater willingness and desire by Europeans to live alongside and enjoy the presence of wild animals have all contributed to this recovery.
Wildlife brings benefits
Wildlife can return if we give it space and take measures to live alongside each other. The new publication puts the spotlight on how we can support wildlife comeback and the essential role wildlife plays within our landscapes, with benefits for nature, climate and people.
Landscapes without wildlife are like theatres without actors: they’re in need of each other to function properly. The comeback of wildlife can help restore ecosystem functioning by reviving the interactions between the species and their habitats. Healthy ecosystems, in turn, deliver a wide range of benefits including everything from providing us with fresh water, carbon storage, fire and flood prevention to socio-economic benefits for local communities and beyond. Discover more about these benefits, by exploring the stories below.
You can make a difference
The ongoing recovery of species presented in the new Wildlife Comeback Report is encouraging and shows there is a possibility for wildlife to come back into our landscapes if we act on it. Yet this only represents the start of what is possible, and also what is needed. With appropriate measures and an increasing tolerance of native wildlife species by man, such species will continue to increase in population size and range.
In our Rewilding Landscapes, our local teams are working on a variety of wildlife population support measures, such as corridor creation, reintroductions, mitigation of conflict and the promotion of co-existence, to help wildlife – and subsequently entire ecosystems – bounce back. Your contribution can help our teams to welcome wildlife back into our landscapes.