Wild, free and coming back?
The return of key species to Scotland
…What? Where? How?
Hosted by the Wildland Network and Trees for Life
at Findhorn, Forres, nr Inverness, 16-17th September 2008
This two day conference examined the action required to achieve further reintroductions
of key species to Scotland. The event featured presentations, workshops, a debate,
photographic exhibition, story telling and was followed by optional field trips to:
Alladale 18 Sept – reintroduced mammals in the Alladale Wilderness Project
Glen Affric 19 Sept - Caledonian ecosystem restoration, & wild boar experiment
Carrifran wildwood 20 Sept - whole ecosystem restoration in the Moffat Hills
Tues 16 September
Reintroductions – what do you want to have happened in 10 years time?
As participants arrived they jotted down what they wanted to see happen on 10 years
PRESENTATIONS & DISCUSSION
Bird reintroductions in the British Isles - Lessons from recent experience
Roy Dennis Highland Foundation for Wildlife
Beaver reintroduction in Scotland - Progress and prospects
Iain Valentine Head of Animals, Education and Conservation, The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
Facing the predator – are we ready?
Peter Cairns Tooth and Claw
Scotland’s missing mammals – Targets & visions for their return
Alan Watson Featherstone Trees for Life
Workshops on species re-introductions
Participants discussed ‘What? Where? How?’ for
Restoring whole ecosystems - What’s happening in Scotland?
Key issues from 3 examples:
Alladale: Hugh Fullerton-Smith, Manager, Alladale Wilderness Reserve
Carrifran: Philip Ashmole Co-ordinator Hugh Chalmers, Project Officer, Carrifran Wildwood Project
Glen Affric: Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life, Liz Balharry, coordinator of wild boar grazing project
The lore of Fauna Celtica – old and new
Workshop Option A: Returning creatures – the new folklore
Workshop Option B: Returning creatures – the politics
Workshops on issues:
· Perceptions of predators - workshop write up
· Livelihoods from reintroductions - workshop write up
· Farming and forestry issues - workshop write up
· Game issues - workshop write up
· Community-based reintroduction projects - workshop write up
· Ecosystem restoration – how reintroduced species can drive it - workshop write up
What have we learnt? - Final reflection from Peter Taylor – It's cool to be wild
· There is a history we are a part of. In 1988 some of us were here for the Science and the magic or surprise conference. In 1996 some of us went to Brittany to see beaver re-introductions.
· In the North American tradition, the beaver holds the power to lay foundations – and creates habitat for the pond-loving elk -
· Then the elk provides prey for the wolf
· And further in shamanic tradition - the bear is the keeper of the dream – which in Britain is symbolised by Arthur (celtic tribal – ‘bear-king’) – who sleeps and holds the dream of Albion, a time when true consciousness re-awakens – meaning a conscious relationship to the land and its divinity;
· Trees for Life have always been clear about the whole dream, reintroductions as well as trees
· The Wildland Network networks experience and passion to feed the action, to support developing vision into action
· Now we all need to be bolder, to challenge the economist paradigm
· We need to integrate left brain and right brain – the cultural and the scientific – to create a whole approach
· And we need to recognise we are healing our selves as well as healing the land.
· We need to involve all, and have an opportunity, to avoid polarity (any ’us and them’) eg. by providing incentives (positive funding) from the beginning
· And to provide the right infrastructure to harvest gains and benefits.
· The urban mentality has to be engaged. Working with primary school children is fine, but secondary school age young people then lose it. It needs to be cool to be wild – OK to be wild.
· Now we need to use our many skills and breadth of experience to find our different ways to this (wilding with reintroductions …)
· Lets speed up and recognise the point made by Roy Dennis in response to Alan Watson Featherstone’s proposals… that 2043 is a long way ahead. We need to change now.
Setting up reintroductions working groups and other next steps – conference outcomes
‘The return of the wolf – is Scotland’s psyche ready?’ write up
Pictures from the meeting and field visits are available here
Reports in the press
A number of newspapers printed articles on the conference. These can be read by following the links below: