A study released today by the Royal Society proposes the reintroduction of wolves into the Scottish Highlands - 240 years after they were hunted to extinction. According to The Guardian, the report concludes that "allowing packs of wolves to patrol the Highlands would solve an emerging ecological crisis over deer numbers" while …
Damn, nature is so trying!
Wolves in their natural environment, whatever next? Next thing they'll be trying to preserve ancient forests and telling us not to build roads on sites of special scientific interest.
It must be blindingly obvious to anyone but the most introspective person, that the "threatened" herds of sheep only exist in Scotland to feed the hungry mouths of humans. So effectively it's another two-finger salute to nature because we humans want to own every single patch of land on this Earth.
How selfish. How human.
.. er .. I mean Wolves.
I think this kind of scheme is excellent, and I'm appalled that it got rejected. After hunting down and destroying a species for no decent reason, aren't we obliged to give something back to them?
So what if a rambler gets attacked every now and then, or a few sheep or chickens go missing... we took their species in the thousands, and they didn't have a chance.
Wolves are cool, that's all there is to it.
A sheep in wolfs clothing
Alan Watson Featherstone should carefully consider how he regards the relative danger of wolves. True, reported incidents of wolf attacks are low, but that is largely due to the fact that wolf numbers are relatively low. Wolf attacks occur several times a year, all over the world. Wolves are in fact carnivorous predators, and they willl attack and eat a human if they feel so inclined. Failing to recognize this simple fact may be deadly. Wishful thinking will not prevent a wild animal from attacking.
Having followed this debate for some time, I am always curious as to the motivations and logic of those who support and oppose the idea of re-intruction of wolves.
In terms of the supporters - I think the underlying benefit lies in allowing woodland and forestry to re-assert themselves in the natural countryside (it should be noted that this will not mean moorlands etc will be unnaturally altered, most of these were never suitable for large scale forestry).
The primary reasons this does not happen today is deer and sheep over-population.
The opposition seems heavily led by the farming industry (no real surprises there), with the arguments around local pet owners or ramblers raising questions around the fair and scientific representation of wild wolf behaviour by the media.
The reasons why we should be dramatically strengthening our forestry (including but quite definitely not restricted to the forestry industry) should be at the forefront of all our minds nowadays.
Perhaps the time has come to:
(a) Convey a more realistic a reasonable portrayal of what living with wild wolves really means to local people;
(b) Review the way we financially support our farming industry to encourage, by which by 'carrot' as well as 'stick', a move to both short term returns (such as sheep farming provides) as well as the longer term benefits from a move towards forestry.
In short, lets take our heads out of the sand and realise we simply must reverse the deforestation which was imposed on the Scottish countryside only centuries ago.
Restoring Scotland's "natural landscape".
I agree wholeheartedly with restoring Scotland's woodlands. A drive from Perth to Loch Tay will scotch the myth that our country is near-treeless due to climate and soil. It's also worth noting that there are visible signs of new growth occurring in areas where sheep were taken off the hills during the foot-and-mouth epidemic.
It's interesting that the article notes, in regard to the risk to domestic sheep:
"80 per cent of sheep deaths in the Highlands of Spain are the result of wolves"
"rural human depopulation has encouraged a gradual spread of the species"
We've had a lot of rural human depopulation in Scotland too. It was called The Clearances, and people were turfed out to make way for... sheep.
So the farmers and landowners can shove it -- they've had total control of the Highlands for far too long, and it's time we stopped them squandering our natural heritage.
Ach, Now the wee little haggis can run on the bonnie highlands with near a care in the world.