rewilding

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British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,516
365
Mercia
Yep. Only then I need food hygiene certificates and my kitchen inspected too. Even if its only a gift.

No wonder people don't bother harvesting deer and rabbits are out of control. The little minded people do like to restrict our freedoms :(
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,227
1,462
S. Lanarkshire
I don't even eat meat, but I think that's stupid, I really do.

It's right up there with the wholesale disposal of good food and medicines because they're past some arbitrary use by date :sigh:
I'm not stupid and I know that at the core there are good reasons for such things; but the results overwhelm the original intent by a huge magnitude.

Instead of deaing with the problem we end up dealing with the greater problems that our supposed solutions have caused.

M
 

Doc

Need to contact Admin...
Nov 29, 2003
2,109
10
Perthshire
I suspect Scottish wolves would preferentially predate on deer rather than sheep, because that is exactly what happens in Europe and Scandinavia. Losses to farmers in Italy run at about 0.35% of the flock. That sort of loss (probably much less than foot rot, scrapie and all the other things sheep get) is easily covered by government compensation.

It's also worth considering whether upland sheep farming is the best way to use the land in the first place. It provides relatively little employment compared to the alternatives and there is certainly no economic argument for it, because it is so dependent on subsidies. I believe the average Welsh sheep farm made a net annual profit of £33,000 - but only after receiving an average subsidy of £53,000.

Maybe our ancestors did have good reason for exterminating the wolf. They presumably thought they had good reasons for exterminating the beaver, osprey, kite, sea eagle, etc, etc as well, but they have been reintroduced successfully. Attitudes change, and we are often horrified by the things our ancestors did. Raptor persecution has moved from being a routine part of the Victorian gamekeeper's job description to a 21st century wildlife crime.

As for Lynx, we know exactly what they eat - about 80% of the diet is red or roe deer (impressive that a beast the size of a medium dog can predate on something as big as a red deer). Of course they are obligate forest predators, so by not keeping sheep in a forest, much of the problem is already solved. They will take fox and feral cats so there could be some risk to unsupervised pets - probably a tiny fraction of the road traffic accident risk though.




Europe is a continent though; we are islanders.
In June 2013 the sheep population was 6.57 million on around 14,800 farms in Scotland. (from the gov. website)
Tell me honestly, deer or sheep and lambs.....which do you think the wolves are going to prefer taking ? and in Winter and Spring the sheep are brought down from the highest lands and kept closer to the farm.

Lynx, again, what's it going to eat ?

It's not a human fear of attack, but a very, very real concern to farmers, and to the people who live near those areas. Foxes already take pets; I'd need a fair bit of reassurance that wolves and lynx wouldn't given the chance.

They're stuck, stranded, on a cut off limited and overpopulated, and well used even if it does look empty, land here.

When our population was a quarter of the present, our ancestors wiped them out. Maybe they had good reason ? Maybe it's as you said and that it was gut based ?

Yet, wildcats struggle, pine martens struggle, how the hang is something any bigger going to manage ? How many would it need for their population to thrive healthily ?

I'm all for rich biodiversity, but I think that the idea that the wolves would solve the deer problems is onto a hiding to nothing tbh. If there's easier prey, they'll take it.

I reckon this fellow just wants a way of keeping folks off his land in a country with the responsible right of access written into the laws.

We'll see, but I'm not holding my breath.

M
 

Doc

Need to contact Admin...
Nov 29, 2003
2,109
10
Perthshire
Like many conservationists, I'm not too keen on the Alladale initiatives:

-it's not rewilding, it's zookeeping
- the fences inhibit access (which should be unfettered, according to the land reform act)
- the fences detract from wilderness.

I agree we should be having a proper debate about wild land. Much of the 'uses' for wild land do not make economic sense - for example, some commercial sitka plantations, which are almost devoid of life, are only there because the extrication costs exceed the timber value. Windfarms are hopelessly dependent on subsidies, which transfer money from, say, the people of Easterhouse to the Duke of Roxburgh. Sheep farming is hopelessly uneconomic and totally subsidy dependent. If you were designing the system from scratch, you would not end up with this.

Also of course, the ultimate decision is made by the 400 or so people who own half of the land.




You could be right, I've done a few hills in the Allandale Estate & large sections of it are fenced off as part of the rewilding enclosure. You can't access this area although to be fair the hills are still accessible.

I think Scotland would benefit from a big debate about wild land use, considering everything from power generation to deer management. We have some amazing places here but the pressure on the environment is ever increasing.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,227
1,462
S. Lanarkshire
Interesting about the lynx.....one has to ask though, is there anything else about that they can get as an alternative ?
As for wolves; there's a lot of interest in keeping the idea going that they'll take deer and not sheep, but y'know ? the farmers say differently, and in Mongolia they were losing half of their herds of foals to the wolves every year. Now they're shooting them as fast as they can. (the pelts come in for the reenactors, etc., and with cites certificates so they get through customs. Donagh went out there to source them cheaply)
In America they're taking out those cross bred with domestic dog wolves ....those hides come in without claws, as a kind of 'proof'....as they try to keep the wolf purebred. That doesn't quite equate with the idea that wolves keep away from people and their animals. Add in the other problems farmers are having and all those supposed experts that say the wolves take deer and not farm animals are clearly not quite getting the full picture. For instance...
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/03/wolf-wars/chadwick-text/4

Re the Victorian gamekeeping mores; 'Sporting interests' have a lot to answer for; they really do. It's pretty much established now though.

Beaver were shot for their furs, so were otters until it was believed they were predating the game bird eggs. Kites, ospreys and other raptors too were shot as competition for the 'sporting' as well as farming interests, though I was told that the last of the kites in Stirling were killed on the rock after one tried to attack a baby. Might just be a family story that one though, but they were gone one way or t'other.

I agree about the use of the uplands, but again, sheep and grouse and pheasant shooting all seem to manage.

That's the rub though; we are intensively using our lands; the fellow who wants to set up his personal 'rewilding' is talking of fencing off huge great areas.....that's not rewilding, that's a zoo or animal park.
Real rewilding would leave them with nowhere to go; as I said earlier, they were already on a sticky wicket on an island with a growing population.

It's nothing new this extermination of species on islands; in prehistoric times the islands of the mediterranean had giant swans, pigmy rhinocerous and elephants, and big cats and bears until people settled them and took over and wiped them out. No where to go, no new genetic input, no expansion of habitat.
We don't live on the continent. We live on the British Islands, and they're a bit busy really.

M
 

Joonsy

Native
Jul 24, 2008
1,483
0
UK
I reckon this fellow just wants a way of keeping folks off his land in a country with the responsible right of access written into the laws.
almost right, deny access to the general public but keep it open for high-paying guests, he wants to encirlce his entire estate with a three metre high electrified fence and charge exorbitantly high entrance fees, it will be in effect a very expensive zoo for wealthy people only, he's been trying it on for years and i hope he doesn't succeed, the respected walker and climber Camron McNeish did an interesting article on the topic a while back which you can see if you wish if you click on the following link

http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/news/viewpoint-walking-with-wolves-alladale-estate/009779/
 

wattsy

Native
Dec 10, 2009
1,111
0
Lincoln
I love it when people think that wolves would predate on deer and not sheep, wolves aren't stupid there's no way they'd waste their time chasing deer around when they can get sheep for half the effort
 

feralpig

Forager
Aug 6, 2013
183
0
Mid Wales
Probably fair to say that rewilding isn't going to happen any time soon in the UK, at least not to the extent that Monbiot is suggesting. However, despite strongly disagreeing with a lot of what he says, on this, I agree with him entirely.
No doubt he takes an extreme view of the subject, but it might start the ball rolling in the right direction. In fact, I know of instances where the interests of a few farmers have been ruthlessly pushed aside, for the sake of the ground, environment, flora and fauna, and (Filthy word), Tourists.
Now, between September and March the welfare addled farmer must remove his animals from the common land. Having been born and bred right in the middle of this area, and knowing most the people involved, i can tell you that they are outraged at this imposition on their given right to graze their sheep on common land, with no concern or responsibility whatsoever for any environmental damage.
Guess what? The common land is starting to recover............

I can only speak for the area I live in, but 30 years ago, most people here were involved with agriculture in some way, they all got a bite of the welfare and accepted the pushing out of hedges, felling of hardwood, polluting of streams, conifer plantations, and so on, without question. Indeed, they prided themselves upon how good it was, and how good the welfare was. (The taxpayer footed the bill for this environmental catastrophe, through subsidies)
Now, there are a huge number of people living around here, who are nothing to do with agriculture whatsoever. They neither know nor care that a carrot grows in the ground, and isn't made in a factory in China.
They have made their money, moved to the country, and are seriously starting to wonder what it is that is so good about farmers, that so few of them can have such a negative impact on so many peoples lives, and be paid, from the government, to do it.

Why should rural areas be the exclusive preserve of the farmer, what about everybody else that lives here? Why is the government having to support farmers with so much money to farm sheep, when the land is so unsuitable, why don't they pay the farmers to grow Pineapples, it would be equally as (in)sensible. Both are totally unviable, without subsidies.
Why not make some effort towards rewilding the countryside, so others can enjoy it?

To be fair, small inroads are being made. The Farmers' main aim was to produce food, now it as The Guardian of the Countryside, and the best welfare is available to the farmer through environmentally sound initiatives. It hasn't gone anywhere near far enough, yet, and some of the new rules and regulations are an environmental disaster, but that is only to be expected. No one is going to change the world overnight. But it is changing, and more of the incomers, and second generation incomers, are starting to realise that they are seriously under represented in this area.
(I rarely work for farmers, I work mostly for incomers. It's eye opening.......)
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,227
1,462
S. Lanarkshire
I think it would be marvellous to see the British Isles before we changed them so completely; I really do :D
The great wood of Caledon, the green Welsh valleys and tree covered hills, the forests of Ulster, the downs before the sheep, the rivers wide and unbanked and uncitified and the sea wide and clean and free of our litter and pollution.
Rivers running full of fish, full of pearl muscles and elvers, the wild ox, the wolf, the bear, the beaver and the whole panoply of nature untrammeled by our 'industry'.

I can't see it happening though, not outwith some truly devastating catastrophe.

M
 

feralpig

Forager
Aug 6, 2013
183
0
Mid Wales
I'm in the middle of the sort of bowl that is formed by the Black mountains, Brecon Beacons, and the hills around Llandrindod wells. It is said, and I quite believe it, that 500 years ago, the entire bowl, below the tree line, was dense hardwood. It was recorded that way by a Scotsman who built a house round here, around 500 years ago.
That isn't going to be seen again, for sure, and I wouldn't really want it too.
The extreme end of the rewilding movement is never going to hold up, extremes never do, but they can lead to change.
Taxpayer funded, government policys have lead to the environmental damage, and economic sluggishness in this area.
The money could be better spent. In the next 30 or so years, there could well be a lot more political representation from non agricultural people, who start questioning the state of things and pushing for change. As yet, it's not many shouting about it, from what I can hear.
I think a certain amount will change for the better, in time to come.