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Rebirding: Winner of the Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation: Restoring Britain's Wildlife

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As larger rewilding projects get underway, and free-roaming animals return to our countryside at alandscape-level, Iam sure that in my lifetime we’ll see the triumphant return of the Butcher Bird aswell. And which of the current reintroductions or recolonisations gets you most excited?

Rebirding is an absolutely fascinating book, and one that I think anyone who is interested in British nature and wildlife should read. It took a bit of perseverance for me to get into, as the first few chapters are a bit depressing - but this simply highlights the dire situation that british wildlife is in. So getting this book to key landowners, particularly estate owners, the Forestry Commission and decision-makers, is going to bekey. In Dumfries and Galloway, a group of friends are attempting to recreate the ancient Scottish wildwood across 1,600 acres. In Norfolk, the Ken Hill Estate is turning a thousand acres of the lowlands over to nature. A mathematician, an internet entrepreneur and an environmental campaigner have all recently snapped up small parcels of land with the intention of restoring some vestige of wildness to the English landscape.Aim for a baby who is not full, but not actively hungry. About an hour after a feeding is usually a good goal.

Any digging into the comparative economies of, say, grouse shooting as opposed to nature watching, in similar areas, then yielded the expected result that nature fuels asection in the economy worth billions each year – and that’s even before we’ve reinstated true national parks and many of our lost charismatic animals. You write: “[T]he inability for many nature reserves to embrace scruffiness is why many of our counties already have more avocets than they do willows tits or spotted flycatchers.” What do you think we need to do to make ​ ‘scruffy’ agood thing?A lot of really interesting facts and arguments are put forward in this book. Some I knew about, agree with or would love to see happen. Other arguments I feel more conflicted about.

James – the RSPB is an NGO and it is a charity. Some wildlife and environmental NGOs are not charities (eg Wild Justice, parts of FoE and parts of Greenpeace). So if I refer to them as a bunch I tend to use NGO. Try to avoid bottles for 48 hours before rebirthing. If supplementing is happening, using a bottle alternative or non-traditional bottle for just those proceeding 48 hours helps.Given achance, they remain eminently capable of managing for awhole range of species that do not, in fact, require tortuous and expensive action plans to survive. Of the species lost to Britain, which do you most regret not being able to seehere?

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