Chris Packham is a man on a mission to eradicate British ignorance towards wolves.
The Springbreak presenter is urging the UK to make way for the reintroduction of the large predators in order to improve local economy, the eco-system and encourage a “sustainable working landscape”.
Speaking to the Radio Times, he said: “Wolves live in Portugal, Spain, Italy and in Sweden too. There have been only two fatalities since the year 2000, both in the US, and certainly none in Europe. What we would like to move towards is a more tolerant society that understands the fact that to have a sustainable working landscape we need large predators.”
However, he admitted he was having some difficulty convincing the rest of the United Kingdom his plan was a good idea.
Animals in decline
Animals in decline
1/8 Harbour seal (Phoca vitulina)
Where: Orkney Islands. What: Between 2001-2006, numbers in Orkney declined by 40 per cent. Why: epidemics of the phocine distemper virus are thought to have caused major declines, but the killing of seals in the Moray Firth to protect salmon farms may have an impact.
2/8 African lion (Panthera leo)
Where: Ghana. What: In Ghana’s Mole National Park, lion numbers have declined by more than 90 per cent in 40 years. Why: local conflicts are thought to have contributed to the slaughter of lions and are a worrying example of the status of the animal in Western and Central Africa.
3/8 Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
Where: Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Costa Rica. What: Numbers are down in both the Atlantic and Pacific. It declined by 95 per cent between 1989-2002 in Costa Rica. Why: mainly due to them being caught as bycatch, but they’ve also been affected by local developments.
4/8 Wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans)
Where: South Atlantic. What: A rapid decline. One population, from Bird Island, South Georgia, declined by 50 per cent between 1972-2010, according to the British Antarctic Survey. Why: being caught in various commercial longline fisheries.
5/8 Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica)
Where: Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. What: fall in populations has been dramatic. In the early 1990s numbers were over a million, but are now estimated to be around 50,000. Why: the break up of the former USSR led to uncontrolled hunting. Increased rural poverty means the species is hunted for its meat
6/8 Swordfish (Xiphias gladius)
Where: found worldwide in tropical, subtropical and temperate seas. Why: at risk from overfishing and as a target in recreational fishing. A significant number of swordfish are also caught by illegal driftnet fisheries in the Mediterranean
7/8 Argali Sheep (Ovis mammon)
Where: Central and Southern Asian mountains,usually at 3,000-5,000 metres altitude. Why: domesticated herds of sheep competing for grazing grounds. Over-hunting and poaching.
8/8 Humphead Wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus)
Where: the Indo-Pacific, from the Red Sea to South Africa and to the Tuamoto Islands (Polynesia), north to the Ryukyu Islands (south-west Japan), and south to New Caledonia. Why: Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing and trading of the species
“We have lived without them in the UK for such a long time that people are very resistant to the idea of them coming back, which is a shame because we do know better and we do need them and it would be tremendously exciting.
“If we did have wolves – which would have to be in Scotland – and lynxes then lots of people would pay to go see them and they would be a great asset to the community.”
His call follows Sir David Attenborough’s plea for the reintroduction of wolves into the Scottish highlands.Reuse content