The Kent Wildlife Trust and Wildwood Trust have been awarded £1.125m to, amongst other things, introduce 4 Bison into part of the Blean forest around Canterbury as ecosystem engineers
So this is generating a lot of discussion on Twitter about whether this a PR exercise or will have wider benefits.
This is not by any feat of imagination an introduction, any more than buying a new dog would "introduce" Canis familiaris to Houseman Road, Farnborough. It's putting a small number of funny-shaped cows in a field.
Introductions and reintroductions (are they not claiming this is the latter?) require an absence of fences, or, bearing in mind the oft-repeated African comment that the difference between a zoo and a national park is how far apart the fences are, a field a heck of a lot bigger with nothing worse than a cattle grid and a stile controlling public access to the area.
Perhaps introduce was a poor choice of wording. I wasn’t saying the animals were to become part of an introduction program.
It will be interesting to see what impact they will have. The beavers at the KWT Ham Fen seem to be doing a good job of helping to revert fields back into fen.
The KWT Beaver project has been running how long? What has it proved? Where is it going? What is its intended end-state? Aren't there Beavers already in the wild in England and Scotland in addition to "projects" at Knapdale, in Cornwall and in Devon? Why not take the fences away and let the Stour Beavers get on with it properly, like the Tayside and Otter Beavers, instead of harnessing them to tiny confined human projects as if they were pig-tailed macaques picking coconuts? In what way is Beaver or Bison slavery acceptable?
Beavers seem to be doing fairly well outside the enclosures in Kent since there are plenty of signs of their presence between Canterbury & Grove Ferry and elsewhere.
If the end result is primarily an increase in butterfly species and numbers, a stable population of breeding nightingales and perhaps a safe summer refuge for a few turtle doves, then that surely has to be a positive action, together with an opportunity to monitor progress and learn for the future. I appreciate that some might view this as another well publicised gimmick but we have many instances of "unfamiliar" grazing animals that have been used as a means of natural management, as Deb highlighted, of particular habitats to return or keep them as rich and diverse as they one were. I'm thinking of "flying flocks" in Norfolk such as Konik ponies, Hebridean sheep and I think a type of old fashioned pig similar to Tamworths was trialled in a private wood.
I agree that some reintroductions may be seen as questionable ( eg, WTE on the I.O.W. after North Norfolk fell through a few years back, and Black Storks somewhere ) but why not give it a go. Yes, the continued loss of critical ancient habitat continues unabated but what is there to lose with this scheme?
There are a lot more than four in the Scottish Wildlife Park at Kingussie but I wouldn't tick them either. Take the fences away and I'll think about it. I can't see what the fuss is about that requires fencing them in, anyway: they roam wild in Poland and the American version is common in Yellowstone with the public wandering among them in vehicles and on foot. But this news is not an introduction by any standard I'm aware of, there's no suggestion that the end-state is unfenced Bison in Kent: it's a joke.
It's all wrong, in a nutshell. Lets have Bison and Wild Boar across the whole of the New Forest not only to turn the earth and manage the trees but also to force dogs onto leads and make mountain-bikers a good deal more cautious - and get rid of the ponies, cattle and pigs; Beavers joining Otters in every catchment across Britain to slow water flow and build biodiversity; Wolves culling deer across the Scottish Highlands according to Darwin's principles instead of humans culling for trophies and the best, undiseased, healthiest venison.
And to be fair, every year at least one idiot gets gored by a bison in Yellowstone (the public explicitly SHOULDN'T be wandering among them like they are dairy cows, hence the gorings).
I know it’s not really the point your making but all these animals end would up being culled or hunted once populations reach certain levels