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Managed wilderness: reintroducing extinct species into Britain

Managed wilderness: reintroducing extinct species into Britain

Andrew Taylor investigates the schools of thought on the reintroduction of extinct species back into Britain.

Reintroduction is defined as ‘restoring a species to parts of its natural range from which it has been lost.’ There is currently a large body of thought that suggests that species extinct in Britain for many years should be reintroduced. There is currently a push towards reintroducing species such as bear, lynx, wolves, wild boar and beavers back into Britain. It can certainly be argued that these species are largely extinct in Britain as a result of human intervention and meddling.

The way in which these species are planned to be restored in Britain is through rigorous land management and tight, procedural conditions to be made by people. If we intend to reintroduce these species into Britain’s wilderness, the first serious question to ask is what we mean by ‘wilderness’. As a result of National Parks, Special Sites of Scientific Interest and many more, there is a distinct absence of any land that is not managed. There could therefore be a case for being against reintroduction of species into Britain because we would be putting species under the supervision of environmental managers, heritage consultants etc. after human intervention was what led to their demise in the first place.

There is, however a body of thought that completely vindicates the work of environmental managers and heritage consultants; the wild and all its contents can be seen as internally valuable sources of intangible heritage which desperately need preserving and managing. Reintroducing species would mean a huge advance in tourism and a boost to the heritage and environmental industry. Species being reinstated in the UK could nurture one’s own cultural heritage and sense of British identity, species seen as alien and feared by the UK can once again become part of its custom.

Managing wilderness is important, although it may be managed, the nature and intangible meaning within it is not managed and important to everyone who belongs to Britain.

This is the first of hopefully more pieces in which I communicate the importance of natural heritage management and human-environment interactions and how relevant managing landscapes and wildlife is within the heritage industry. I am currently studying for an MA in Museum and Heritage Management at Nottingham Trent University. I am also a Heritage Assistant with Culture Syndicates. During my studies and experience with Culture Syndicates I have started to learn that natural heritage is a subject that people within the industry rarely address. The following set of blogs aim to show just how important and applicable natural heritage management is to all those who work within the heritage industry and indeed anyone who feels a part of Britain.

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This post was written by Andrew Taylor, an NTU Masters student in Museum and Heritage Management and a Culture Syndicates Heritage Assistant.

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