Wolves, Lynx, Eagles And Other Wildlife Could Return To The Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales is the pride of our country, and according to reports, reintroducing native species to our National Park could be on the table. A member of Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Ian McPherson, wrote about the topic this week, discussing the reintroduction of species that have been extinct in the area for centuries.

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Speaking of a ‘rewilding’ project, it seems that golden and white-tailed eagles, chough, beavers, pine marten, crane and silver-studded blue butterflies being introduced into the Yorkshire Dales is attainable right now. But, McPherson also discussed lynx, wildcats and wolves being released in the long-term – with measures in place to prevent any damage to livestock. Better keep that picnic packed up tight!

Writing for the Yorkshire Dales website blog McPherson said, “These days the term ‘rewilding’ has become somewhat of a dirty word, especially amongst farmers and landowners who can have visions of wolves, lynx and perhaps the occasional elk creating mayhem amongst their flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, and beavers chewing their way through their forestry plantations – perhaps not without good reason,”

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“This is unfortunate, however, as rewilding in its fullest sense, although it can involve a measure of reintroductions especially of formerly indigenous species, is primarily about the ways in which land can be managed so as to be the most appropriate and natural form of habitat for its location and local climate. When this is done correctly, then a degree of natural re-colonisation can often occur without contrived reintroduction as such.

“I have been involved in looking at ways in which rewilding (in the fullest definition of the word) may be approached within the National Park – an area whose iconic landscape has largely been created by farming.”

McPherson’s vision is an interesting one indeed, and he believes the idea complements the existing Tees-Swale: Naturally Connected project. The project is farmer-led wildlife recovery. 

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“For me golden and white-tailed eagles, chough, beaver, pine marten, crane and silver-studded blue butterflies are all possible contenders either right now or in the very near future. But lynx, wolf, wild cat and elk would certainly need to wait for some time and there would need to be schemes for compensation in place for any damage resulting from their reintroduction.

“Whilst the focus tends to be on these sorts of charismatic mammals, returning other types of species is no less important. A locality where this is already starting to happen is the Wild Ennerdale project in the Lake District National Park where, following a successful reintroduction programme, they now have England’s largest population of marsh fritillary butterfly.”

Read the full piece outlining his ideas here with useful links to how you can help with re-wilding in The Dales.

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