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Letter of the Week

Each week we bring you a taste of our lively letters page alongside local cartoonist John Elson's look at life.

John Elson's cartoon is sponsored by The Assist Group
John Elson's cartoon is sponsored by The Assist Group

Letter of the week:

Rewilding is not a complete success

Rewilding: 'A progressive approach to conservation' is one phrase used to describe this highly acclaimed interface with nature.

However, far from being all sweetness and light here are a few facts the re-wilders never talk about or admit to when projects have not been the roaring successes they claim.

Sea eagles:

There was a project to reintroduce them to our shores in about 1975.

They were placed on the Isle of Rum where they prospered and multiplied.

They did so well they soon depleted their prey such as rabbits and mountain hares. So they foraged further afield to the west of Scotland.

That’s when things started to go wrong.

Hill farmers' and crofters' farm animals came under attack. Especially new born lambs. One hill farmer reported over 100 of his animals lost in a season and backed that up with video evidence.

The rewilders did their best to dilute the problem by only admitting to the occasional incident.

The farmer described rewilders as “townies using the countryside as their playground”.

Scottish authorities are considering a cull.

Otters have been encouraged but they eat freshwater fish
Otters have been encouraged but they eat freshwater fish


Another successful project which began in East Anglia in the 1980s.

The rewilders now claim otters inhabit every country in the land.

Wonderful, but not so if you own a commercial fishery, are an angler or have an ornamental garden fish pond.

In the Lincolnshire Fens, otters have wiped out all life from miles of waterways, known as the Drains. Many local angling clubs have given up their leases on these waters simply because there is nothing left.

Otters attacked and killed a 50lb carp in a Cambridgeshire lake syndicate. They then attacked one of a pair of beautiful black swans on a Yorkshire estate, which subsequently died.

Closer to home, an attack on a local garden pond left every fish slaughtered. An otter expert commented in this paper it was just “otter snacking”.

Wild boar:

They escaped from their woodland enclosure and now it is estimated over 4,000 are at large.

Defra describes them as dangerous animals.

Another cull is on the cards.


A more recent project which has thrown up so many problems, Scottish authorities have sanctioned the removal of 83 dams and a cull of 100 of the creatures.

So it goes on and the word “cull” crops up in nearly every project.

The scary thing is these people have yet more projects in the pipeline to dwarf anything so far.

European bison:

These have been introduced into Blean woods near Canterbury in Kent. Note that I say introduced not reintroduced.

As this 610kg beast is not a native of this land and never has been, why? Is it all just a huge ego-massaging exercise?

Lynx, brown bear and wolves are all on their agenda. It is difficult to comprehend.

Having reintroduced wolves, the French are now experiencing big problems.

The population has grown at over 100 a year with disastrous effects.

Farmers have evidence which points to the apex predator killing 10,000 to 12,000 animals a year, mainly sheep. And, yes, they are considering a cull.

Farmers, land owners and many countryside organisations have tried to offer sound advice born on lifetime experiences. In response, the rewilders brush them off claiming they are misinformed or fail to understand.

We live on a highly populated small island and a conflict between humans and introduced dangerous animals is inevitable.

Culling a beautiful wild animal just because people interfere with nature is unforgivable.

Nigel Pleasants

Lonsdale Way, Oakham

  • Do you agree? If you would like to share your views on this or another issue, email the editor at smedictor@stamfordmercury.co.uk

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