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Why are some people vehemently against reintroductions? (1 Viewer)

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Maybe so, however I still think it is a good idea because of course it is bringing something back to the UK, and even then support for other birds will never work because of persecution, which unless stopped would hamper any restoration effort for raptor birds.
So now are you saying you accept reintroducing raptors ‘won’t work because of persecution’ (after pages and pages of inane arguments, posting false accusations on the internet against the RSPB for saying exactly the same thing (despite me repeatedly asking you not to) sending me threatening private messages, and complaining about me to the mods that I was making you look stupid and causing sedition for voicing a similar argument - now here you are back agreeing with the arguments I put to you a few weeks ago? Priceless!!!
Hen harrier (Reintroduction schemes destroyed by RSPB ...
Oh no ... maybe I spoke too soon. There you go again with your emotive language and hostility to the RSPB spreading libellous statements.
Corncrake (Reintroductions to Nene Washes and Wensum valley caused a ton of hate among birdwatchers)
‘hate’? Seriously, where do you get this stuff?
Another benefit of reintroducing large, impressive birds is they are a tourist attraction basically. for example, I already have plans to go to Mull as soon as possible.

Well as much as you like to be a tourist and watch birds of prey, as do many members of the public, this is also an argument against flagship species being used for reintroduction. Because the focus is on eg the larger mammals or Birds of Prey this tends to ignore conservation of biodiversity as a whole. The reintroduction of one species might not necessarily be appropriate for others. Your Eagle Owl arguments for example that you made as being appropriate for Thetford Forest, which ecologists would tell you, clearly is not. Obviously, there are also finite resources available for conservation and while flagship conservation attracts public support smaller mammal and bird species, particularly cryptic ones, not only are largely ignored but suffer from the diversion of funds to the flagship species.
Either way, for migratory species this gets worse. I wouldn't even attempt to reintroduce migratory species now because that introduces a very high risk of death on migration routes
This is a complete contradiction, unsurprisingly, of your earlier point arguing vociferously in favour of White Stork reintroduction- or were you not aware White Stork are a migratory species? Your beloved Stork at Knepp could well become a totally migratory population in time and they are already making it over the channel to France and migrating South for the winter with two having migrated to Morocco.

Again, it would help if you avail yourself of the facts upon which you base your arguments because emotive, bombastic hyperbole will fail to impress those you are trying to convince of your point of view (on a range of subjects), especially if it reveals a lack of even the most basic understanding of conservation and ecology.
 
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PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
And it is not just bird species either.... I cite the Large Copper butterfly, a British subspecies that became extinct through drainage of Fenland.
I believe there is still talk of reintroduction going on somewhere, but quite a few failed attempts in previous and likely sites came to nil fruition - unless you were a Reed Warbler.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
And step one in what you describe is abolishing grouse moors. Except nobody's interested in that anymore
Actually, huge numbers of people are interested in that. It's just that these people, not being supporters of the current party in power, don't have any political clout or funds, whereas the grouse moor owners do.
 

jurek

Well-known member
I've been browsing sites on birdwatching, including this one, recently, and have been appalled at the very large number of people, birdwatchers, protesting against, holding a grudge against, and even boycotting organisations supporting the reintroduction of native animals back to the UK,
To answer your main question:
Dislike of reintroductions (properly: translocations) is a historical misconception of naturalists in Britain. It is, thankfully, changing because of the generation turnover. Progress in natural sciences often happens by replacing old scientists by young ones, it is well known among scientists themselves.

So, what were these reasons:
- Preference for animals found in books of Beatrix Potter and Kenneth Grahame, secondarily other fluffy and round-faced animals, and hate of predators. Attitude to a conservation project in Britain is a simple function of which animal is cuter. Restoration of kites and eagles was attacked but spread of non-native deer, geese, ducks and parakeets is ignored. Restoration of water voles and cirl buntings raised little interest. Removal of introduced species was difficult in case of hedgehogs (Mrs Potter) and rats (Mr Grahame), but accepted in case of mink (too similar to evil Weasels in Mr Grahame books) and to protect red squirrels (Mrs Potter). This is changing, because young people are raised on wildlife films focusing on predators.

Conservationists in Britain should sponsor some good quality children book featuring lynx, wolves, eagles, smaller birds of prey and owls as positive characters.

-Historically, translocation and reintroduction was poorly known science. The current generation of conservationists were raised in the 1980s-1990s and don't know current state of science.
-Conservation movement in Britain started from protection of water birds and migratory birds. This is a group of living beings most nomadic and adapted to finding newly appearing patches of habitat, and least affected by habitat fragmentation of all. Habitat fragmentation and ecological barriers are very overlooked in Britain.

The problem that most people have with reintro's, is that they are perceived as vanity projects.
Many people think this of spending vast sums on pseudo-protection of completely artificial landscapes created by a particular past economical model (like heath moors or coppice woodlands). Or invasive methods aiming to keep temporary stages of natural succession, like reedbeds, instead of restoring natural processes. And about protecting many tiny local reserves instead of creating fewer and larger, more resilient, reserves.

For me it is a no-brainer that translocation and releases in Europe will be one of most common conservation methods of the 21 century. Britain and Europe are now a patchwork of islands of habitat, especially newly appeared places where 20. century hunting, pollution and habitat damage has been recently controlled. Wildlife, besides migratory birds, usually have no means to spread there naturally. It most be brought by man, and this often requires little objective effort other than bureaucratic and mental barriers.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Deb has already dealt with most of your stuff, but:
.... Reintroducing orioles is madness no matter how much it pains me to say this- their range has shifted, they'll just disappear again
Orioles would readily recolonise naturally if they could. Bringing them back is ecologically simple, though expensive (in the short tem at least). All it requires is (1) the planting of large areas of poplar woodlands (acutally a potentially useful forest crop) and fruit orchards (ditto), and (2) the cessation of insecticide use on adjacent farmland, so no insecticide drift to reduce the high insect populations orioles need. Part (2) is logistically easy, but difficult politically, and (as usual) that's where the real barrier to progress lies.
 

Sangahyando

Well-known member
I could swear I've seen this movie before :unsure:


To answer your main question:
Dislike of reintroductions (properly: translocations) is a historical misconception of naturalists in Britain. It is, thankfully, changing because of the generation turnover. Progress in natural sciences often happens by replacing old scientists by young ones, it is well known among scientists themselves.

So, what were these reasons:
- Preference for animals found in books of Beatrix Potter and Kenneth Grahame, secondarily other fluffy and round-faced animals, and hate of predators. Attitude to a conservation project in Britain is a simple function of which animal is cuter. Restoration of kites and eagles was attacked but spread of non-native deer, geese, ducks and parakeets is ignored. Restoration of water voles and cirl buntings raised little interest. Removal of introduced species was difficult in case of hedgehogs (Mrs Potter) and rats (Mr Grahame), but accepted in case of mink (too similar to evil Weasels in Mr Grahame books) and to protect red squirrels (Mrs Potter). This is changing, because young people are raised on wildlife films focusing on predators.

Conservationists in Britain should sponsor some good quality children book featuring lynx, wolves, eagles, smaller birds of prey and owls as positive characters.

-Historically, translocation and reintroduction was poorly known science. The current generation of conservationists were raised in the 1980s-1990s and don't know current state of science.
-Conservation movement in Britain started from protection of water birds and migratory birds. This is a group of living beings most nomadic and adapted to finding newly appearing patches of habitat, and least affected by habitat fragmentation of all. Habitat fragmentation and ecological barriers are very overlooked in Britain.


Many people think this of spending vast sums on pseudo-protection of completely artificial landscapes created by a particular past economical model (like heath moors or coppice woodlands). Or invasive methods aiming to keep temporary stages of natural succession, like reedbeds, instead of restoring natural processes. And about protecting many tiny local reserves instead of creating fewer and larger, more resilient, reserves.

For me it is a no-brainer that translocation and releases in Europe will be one of most common conservation methods of the 21 century. Britain and Europe are now a patchwork of islands of habitat, especially newly appeared places where 20. century hunting, pollution and habitat damage has been recently controlled. Wildlife, besides migratory birds, usually have no means to spread there naturally. It most be brought by man, and this often requires little objective effort other than bureaucratic and mental barriers.
I don't think it's as easy as you seem to be suggesting. How do you propose arriving at the kind of state of wilderness you envision while still maintaining some semblance of land use and ecological diversity? Not to mention the current-day population density in Britain and most other parts of Europe and the rest of the world, which isn't going to decrease in the foreseeable future?
 

Original PaulE

Well-known member
I think each individual situation is different, White-tailed Eagles I think has been a success I think there was plenty of food for them and I think the reason they disappeared was mainly persecution which seems to be largely reduced to the point where they can survive.
Ospreys in general I think has been a success although the Rutland Birds as I understand it are pretty reliant on a local fish farm which doesn't seem to be very sustainable though I could be wrong about that.
I personally think Red Kite feeding should stop or at least be greatly reduced surely concentrating unnaturally large numbers of predator species in a small area can't be good for the prey species in the area, although I enjoyed my visit to one in Wales, great photo opportunities, but didn't seem very natural. It seems if Red Kites are going to be a Natural part of the Ecosystem this needs to stop.
I think putting up nest boxes for Peregrines should stop in the South of England/East Anglia as well, lack of nesting opportunities is a natural limiting factor on Peregrine numbers, there must now be more Peregrines in the southern half of Britain now than there have been for 100s of years the pressure this puts on the prey species seems to me to be wrong. Fair enough if they colonise naturally I think it should be about balance.
I don't think the solution to Predator persecution in the north should be artificially high numbers in the south, Not sure of the Status of Hen Harrier in the south of England did they ever nest here?
Montague's are pretty doomed, I have read this is because of the collapse of the European population rather than anything particular here. Our population was as I understand it a spill over from this?
Putting in top predators is always risky, many species in the South of England are under pressure do they really need the added pressure of White Storks, we already have 3 egret species colonising naturally you wonder about the future for frogs, newts water voles etc!
Mainly I think conservation funding should be spent on Habitat Creation/Enhancement/Protection rather than reintroduction projects. I think there is an attitude in conservation that we must keep it how it was, some idyllic 1950s scenario rather than looking at getting the best out of what we have now, lots of money spent on culling successful species that can cope with the Human dominated world we live in order to save species that can't. Think realism is needed, removing introduced Stoats on Orkney is realistic and achievable to protect ground nesting birds, culling native animals on moors in England maybe not!!
 

Steve Lister

Senior Birder, ex County Recorder, Garden Moths.
United Kingdom
I have been birding in England for 50 years and meet with and talk to many birders but I have yet to come across any of this 'ton of hate' against re-introductions. Yes people have doubts and misgivings about some, but there is usually a good reason for their reticence.
I am not in favour of introducing White Storks because I don't believe the species was ever really a British breeding bird.
I am against the re-introduction of Cranes because I feel that the natural colonisation in East Anglia/the Fens, Yorkshire and Scotland will succeed without artificial supplementation elsewhere if the conditions in the UK really are suitable now.
I can support the re-introduction of raptors such as Osprey, Red Kite and White-tailed Eagle as these are species which died out due to persecution and now attitudes are (mainly) more enlightened and habitats are still suitable then they have a chance of success.
Corncrakes on the Nene Washes was regarded as a bit of an oddity but did anyone really hate the idea? I think not.
Eagle Owls: not convinced that they were ever a British breeding bird. Owls are popular as captive birds, and have been for centuries. Many are lost or released these days, and that is where the few breeding pairs come from. I don't think they should be allowed to get established.
 

jurek

Well-known member
I don't think it's as easy as you seem to be suggesting. How do you propose arriving at the kind of state of wilderness you envision while still maintaining some semblance of land use and ecological diversity? Not to mention the current-day population density in Britain and most other parts of Europe and the rest of the world, which isn't going to decrease in the foreseeable future?

I am not sure what you imagine, but I think that rare species of plants, insects, amphibians, sedentary birds or rodents should be as a routine moved to other reserves with suitable habitat in Britain. This would compensate the completely unnatural cutting migratory routes by human land use, and completely unnatural removal of natural dispersal factors like river floods. By the way, it is agreed that historic distribution of small mammals and suchlike in Britain was not natural, but created by humans moving them with hay, fodder, wood etc. An example is strange distribution of some small mammals isolated on some small islets in Britain.

Europe is conducting multiple reintroductions, despite that human population is not falling. Switzerland has very intensive agriculture, lots of industry, and human population density on lowlands is similar to England. Mountains have low population density, similar to Scottish Highlands. Nevertheless, translocated are lynx (since 1970s!), ibex, bearded vultures and pond turtles, ospreys are being translocated, bald ibises reintroduced in Germany are summering recently. Naturally recolonized red deer, wild boar and wolves, and since two years, a single brown bear has settled. This is an example what can be achieved despite all the transformation of the land, and despite large Swiss bureaucratic barriers and say of local people in referenda which could possibly block such initiatives.
 

Sangahyando

Well-known member
I am not sure what you imagine, but I think that rare species of plants, insects, amphibians, sedentary birds or rodents should be as a routine moved to other reserves with suitable habitat in Britain. This would compensate the completely unnatural cutting migratory routes by human land use, and completely unnatural removal of natural dispersal factors like river floods. By the way, it is agreed that historic distribution of small mammals and suchlike in Britain was not natural, but created by humans moving them with hay, fodder, wood etc. An example is strange distribution of some small mammals isolated on some small islets in Britain.
Well um, maybe, but that was not what your initial post was about.

Europe is conducting multiple reintroductions, despite that human population is not falling. Switzerland has very intensive agriculture, lots of industry, and human population density on lowlands is similar to England. Mountains have low population density, similar to Scottish Highlands. Nevertheless, translocated are lynx (since 1970s!), ibex, bearded vultures and pond turtles, ospreys are being translocated, bald ibises reintroduced in Germany are summering recently. Naturally recolonized red deer, wild boar and wolves, and since two years, a single brown bear has settled. This is an example what can be achieved despite all the transformation of the land, and despite large Swiss bureaucratic barriers and say of local people in referenda which could possibly block such initiatives.
At the risk of pointing out the obvious, Switzerland is landlocked while Britain is less so. Meaning that one of these countries has the possibility of linking its reintroduced mammal populations with the neighbouring countries'...
I agree with you insofar as the UK's current fauna looks more like a zoo than a country, given the myriads of neozoa and the results of numerous other human interventions. And something could be done about that. But I don't think it's possible to create the vast wildernesses some conservationists dream of, neither in Britain nor in Western or Central Europe. Not unless you want to crash the human population and destroy the economy and infrastructure. Reintroducing wolves and bears in Britain of all places also seems to be a pipe dream to put it mildly. It's difficult enough in Germany, which at least has land borders. And if there is insufficient evidence for storks and Eagle Owls being part of the prehistoric fauna of Britain, why waste precious funds on introducing them?
 

jurek

Well-known member
crash the human population and destroy the economy and infrastructure.
I think you are imagining a straw man, something no conservationist takes seriously.

Regarding wolves and bears, they live in human-transformed landscape with fields, farms, villages, towns, roads, tourist resorts etc. in many places in Europe. Highlands of Scotland are wilder and less developed and populated than many wolf and bear habitats.

Regarding white storks and eagle owls, there are five wrong statements in one sentence. First, white storks certainly bred in Britain. Second, in historic not prehistoric times. Third, their reintroduction project was an one off decision, not at expense of other conservation funds. Fourth, eagle owls in Britain were not introduced, but escaped falconry birds with possibly some natural migrants from France. Fifth, no funds was used on 'introducing' eagle owls, much less at the expense of other conservation.

I think most translocations in Britain should not be big birds or mammals. There are tens of rare plants, moths, butterflies, grasshoppers, snails, frogs etc which survived only in one or few reserves, but could be moved to more reserves with similar habitat at very little cost.

Reintroductions are only expensive if large animals are bred in human care, like release of bison or wild horses, and when there is a huge administrative / research / followup overhead. When a translocation is done (a simple transporting of freshly caught animals or replanting plants or seeds) it can be cheap. Arguably, much cheaper than diverse dredging ponds, cutting trees and such work routinely done in nature reserves.
 
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Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Agreed - they've got Wolves in the Netherlands and Denmark now. If they can live with them, so can England, let alone Scotland or Wales.
 

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