Iconic animal species that were (as good as) extinct in Europe for a long time are gradually finding their way back to our regions, as per the new research.
There was a time when fate did not leave large wild animals in Europe much choice: to be hunted, or to be chased away; hunted in the case of fur animals such as the beaver and chased away in the case of large predators that made life difficult for farmers.
Resulting which, a lot of iconic animals disappearing from EU forests. While other Western nations such as Canada and the United States still have large mammals in their forests, that is hardly the case in Europe anymore. That is not only a pity for the romantics among us, but also a bad information for the ecosystem, which is impoverished as a result.
But the tide seems to be turning, according to a new report by Rewilding Europe, an organisation that strives for the return of wild nature in Europe. Together with a number of nature organisations (including the WWF) and scientists, that organisation mapped 50 different European animal species: 24 mammal species, 25 bird species and one reptile species (the hawksbill turtle, a species of sea turtle).
And most of those species are doing well. Their numbers and their distribution have increased since the middle of the last century, and in some cases spectacularly so.