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

Target Ovarian Cancer

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

  • The Nuclear Power Struggle
    The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn on government policy from just two years ago. Yet this seems to be going against the grain globa...
    The Air That We Breathe
    Cities the world over are struggling to improve air quality as scandals surrounding diesel car emissions come to light and the huge health costs of po...
    Diabetes: The World at Risk
    Diabetes is often thought of as a ‘western’ problem, one linked to the developed world’s overindulgence in fatty foods and chronic lack of physi...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    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...

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...

Geophoto

Camera technology may have come a long way since the…

Energy

The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn…

Wildlife

Despite their high profiles, most of the world’s national animal…

Oceans

Asian countries are pledging to reduce the amount of land-based…

Geophoto

There’s a world of visual wonder beneath the waves but…

Energy

A short, summer eclipse in America has solar power generators…

Climate

A dramatic increase in dust storms across the western United…

Climate

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

Climate

A study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of…

Wildlife

It’s not just the bees that are disappearing. Insects across…

Oceans

Far beneath the waves, a race is unfolding to claim…

Climate

Compared to other types of carbon sink, seagrass in Kenya…

Geophoto

Who in their right mind wants to shoot with film…

Climate

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

Geophoto

Calling photographers passionate about capturing and sharing great images of…

Climate

Five experts weigh-in on the future of the Paris Agreement…

Oceans

Analysis into a killer whale found dead off the shores…

Geophoto

For the past ten years, the Chartered Institution of Water…

Geophoto

Less than 4,000 tigers remain in the wild, so it…

Oceans

Zafer Kizilkaya has been awarded the 2017 Whitley Gold Award…