Wolf cubs arrive in Devon as part of rewilding strategy

Wild European Grey wolves in Hungary Wild European Grey wolves in Hungary PhotocechCZ
16 Mar
2017
Wolves have arrived at a wildlife park in Devon as part of ongoing campaign to rewild parts of the United Kingdom

Six wolf cubs are being settled into their new home at the Wildwood Trust in east Devon as part of a long-term campaign to reintroduce wolves to the UK. Born in Hungary, but raised at a wildlife research centre in Sweden, the cubs are ten-month-old European Grey Wolves – the most likely species to be released into Britain through rewilding. However, should the wolf return, it would probably only be in parts of Scotland and even then not for several years to come.

‘Before we can think about reintroducing carnivores like wolves, we have to get people used to the idea of the species being part of the British landscape,’ says Peter Smith, Wildwood Trust founder and rewilding advocate. He believes the key to rewilding is education: ‘We need to dispel the myths of the “big bad wolf” while also giving young people the skills to rewild in the future.’

Lemmy 18 weeksOne of the Wildwood Trust wolf cubs (Image: Wildwood Trust)

Wolves were a native UK species long before they were vilified and eventually exterminated in the 18th century. Since then, their behaviour has become better understood and scientists have also discovered the importance of predator species to ecosystems. It is thought that by reintroducing key species such as the wolves, pressure from the current overabundance of grazing species would be eased on ecosystems, as well as improving the levels of biodiversity. ‘Wolves are keystone species,’ says Smith, ‘which means they drastically alter the environment around them for the better.’

Part of the cubs’ role in Devon will also be to help researchers explore the link between wolves and domestic dog species. Christina Hansen-Wheat, biologist at Stockholm University, will continue to compare the wolf cubs to dog puppies, looking at how the predator’s behaviour began to change as it became domesticated.

The cubs will spend the next four months in quarantine. ‘But the public may still be able to catch glimpses of them before that ends,’ says Smith.

Share this story...

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

Related items

1 comment

  • Rosemary Cockett Great idea. How about wild cats? Golden eagles would be a marvellous addition to East Devon's natural wild life. As would wild horses or ponies. Tuesday, 28 March 2017 06:48 posted by Rosemary Cockett

Leave a comment

ONLY registered members can leave comments and each comment is held pending authorisation before publishing. Please login or register to voice your opinion.

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.

Subscribe Today

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth UniversityUniversity of GreenwichThe University of Winchester

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • REDD+ or Dead?
    The UN-backed REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) scheme, under which developing nations would be paid not to cut dow...
    The true cost of meat
    As one of the world’s biggest methane emitters, the meat industry has a lot more to concern itself with than merely dietary issues ...
    Long live the King
    It is barely half a century since the Born Free story caused the world to re-evaluate humanity’s relationship with lions. A few brief decades later,...
    London: a walk in the park
    In the 2016 London Mayoral election, the city’s natural environment was high on the agenda. Geographical asks: does the capital has a green future, ...
    The Money Trail
    Remittance payments are a fundamental, yet often overlooked, part of the global economy. But the impact on nations receiving the money isn’t just a ...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - follow Geographical

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Energy

Geographical’s regular look at the world of climate change. This…

Climate

Was last year’s El Niño a practice run for future…

Wildlife

The continuing adventures of Aaron Gekoski as he joins the…

Geophoto

What do Ethiopia’s ‘church forests’, the incipient HS2 high-speed rail…

Wildlife

Aaron Gekoski continues working alongside the Wildlife Rescue Unit

Geophoto

Today, the camera is regarded as an essential smartphone feature.…

Oceans

An innovative new theory hopes to save millions of lives…

Wildlife

Aaron Gekoski continues his personal adventure into the wilds of…

Wildlife

Simple tracking devices have enabled conservationists to amass big data,…

Climate

In a new report, researchers have calculated the global emissions…

Climate

Geographical’s regular look at the world of climate change. This…

Wildlife

The latest episode sees ‘Bertie’ enlisting in wildlife rescue boot…

Energy

Icelandic engineers are attempting to harness the powerful geothermal energy…

Wildlife

New video series tracks the journey of Aaron Gekoski as…

Energy

Newly-developed ‘sustainable rubber’, produced using recycled food waste, could one…

Geophoto

This winter has seen frequent storms and flooding hitting many…

Wildlife

The bison, Poland’s symbol of nature conservation, already faces controversial…

Wildlife

Wolves have arrived at a wildlife park in Devon as…

Climate

An unassuming beach in Denmark is absorbing record-breaking levels of…

Energy

The environmental cost of military activities is significant. Could new…