Monday, 2 July 2007

Introducing Mr Wolf?

Stephen Moss (,,2113209,00.html) has provided an account (covering organisms as diverse as Red kites, Sea eagles, Ospreys, Great bustards, Ladybird spiders, Natterjack toads, Cirl buntings, Water vole, Lady's slipper orchid, Freshwater pearl mussel, Field cricket, Dormouse, Large blue butterfly, Beavers and Fen ragwort) of attempts to reintroduce 'formerly lost species' back into 'their' environments in the UK. The account is interesting in that it reveals some of the 'politics' behind some of these attempts (which generally seem driven by people having particular enthusiasms for particular species). He quotes Roy Dennis (an Ornithologist) who says "We've shown that we can successfully reintroduce lost species, even the biggest, as a part of restoring nature in Britain. We really have no excuse not to finish the work." The question remains how far we should go back? Moss notes that environments might well have changed since certain species were initially lost. It is also important to consider that the reintroduction of certain species or the management used to maintain them will have detrimental effects on other species (e.g. using sheep to closely crop grass to favour the Large blue butterfly can disadvantage rare Orthoptera in some locations).

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