Wolves could cut Scotlands deer numbers if they were in large reserves

Dr Joseph Bull, lecturer in conservation science at the University of Kent, said wolves were “glorious” animals, were originally a native species, and the idea of returning them would be thrilling for many people, although the contribution to global wolf conservation would be small. wolf Numerous calls have been made for the reintroduction of wolves in Scotland, although Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Rural Economy Minister, told farmers earlier this year that wolves, bears and lynx would be reintroduced “over my dead body”. If wolves are ever to be reintroduced to the Highlands it may have to be done inside “very large” fenced reserves if they are to be effective at reducing deer numbers, according to a new study.Scientists at the universities of Sussex and Kent said a fenced area would also help limit encounters with local residents and farmers, while giving the grey wolf the opportunity to achieve the high population densities needed to reduce deer numbers.They said the current deer population was preventing tree regeneration and ecosystem restoration in parts of Scotland, with more than one third of all native woodlands in an unfavourable condition because of herbivore impacts.Dr Christopher Sandom, a biology lecturer at the University of Sussex, added: “Reintroducing the wolf has long been suggested as part of the solution to large red deer populations but there will always be concerns about how wolves interact with people in any rewilding project like this.“This research shows that they could actually have an extremely beneficial impact in terms of making the rewilding process more effective.” Paul Lister wants to release wolves in a large, fenced reserve stag Scotland’s red deer have no natural predator Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “Fences particularly constrain animal dispersal, but as Britain is an island, this is less of a problem. A fenced reserve in Scotland could be a fantastic opportunity to return large predators to Britain, ecologically restore a large part of the Scottish Highlands, and promote tourism.”He said the modelling carried out in the study was inspired by the Alladale estate but could also work for other parts of Scotland and in other countries. Paul Lister, the owner of the Alladale estate in Sutherland, has been calling for more than a decade for wolves to be brought back.He wants to release two packs of wolves inside an area of 50,000 acres ringed by a 9ft fence, in a bid to demonstrate how the “impoverished” Highland landscape can be restored through the control of deer and regeneration of native woodland.The researchers, who also worked with scientists from Aarhus University and the University of Oxford (WildCRU), tackled the question of how many wolves would be needed in an area to bring down the number of red deer to allow ecological restoration.Dr Sandom added: “Fences are a common but unpopular tool in biodiversity conservation and would ideally be avoided. But where there are conflicting interests, compromise is needed.

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