Rewilding support from local communities

Posted by Sara King BSc (Hons) MCIEEM on 26/02/2015

Rewilding is an increasingly popular concept which involves restoring large areas back to their natural state, and the reintroduction of species that have recently been extinct. This ranges from the reintroduction of bison, big cats and bears into Europe, as well as smaller reintroductions such as the recent reintroduction of beavers in the UK.

One of the main concerns with rewildling is the interaction between reintroduced species and local communities. One of the rewildling movement’s main aims is to ensure that rewildling and people can co-exist.

A recent study in the Velebit Mountains, located close to a Rewilding Europe site, has indicated that rewiding is welcomed by local communities. The survey demonstrated positive attitude towards the nature conservation aims and objectives, and the protection measures for the reintroduced species and their habitats. The majority of those surveyed support the efforts to increase the number of endangered native and reintroduced species across Europe, and the release of animals in the area. There is a very broad support for allowing original native species to live free in the wild. 

The rewilding initiative looks to educate local communities of the potential new investment, business, jobs and income to the region as a result of increasing biodiversity.

The survey indicates that there can be a positive response to rewilding initiatives. The overall aim would be to ensure that this message is relayed to other potential rewilding sites to ensure that reintroduced species and people can coexist.