Wolf pack released in the Scottish Highlands

Wolves most likely in Alladale, Scotland released.

Tamsweg, 1.4.2015. Just this Sunday, David Attenborough was cited as backing the reintroduction of wolves in the Highlands. As it seems his wish has now become reality.

Surprising even to most nature conservationists, a pack of wolves with 6 individuals was released today in an undisclosed location in the Scottish highlands. We believe that they were released close to Alladale, Scotland. 

This move caught everyone familiar with the nature conservation and wildlife movement in the United Kingdom by surprise, including us.

According to Slovakian NGOS, the wolves were captured in the border region between Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine and were brought last weekend in a largely clandestine operation by truck to the United Kingdom via the Eurotunnel. According to Customs officials, entering the United Kingdom posed a problem for the wolves.

The release of the wolves is a huge success and reflects that more than 70% of UK citizens favouring the return of wolves to the British Isles.

Gudrun Pflüger, Large Carnivore Specialist, confirmed: ¨The Scottish Highlands are the ideal area for the reintroduction of wolves due to the abundance of ungulates. The large numbers of natural prey will minimize the human- and wolf coexistence issues commonly experienced in Germany, Switzerland, Italy or Spain where already large number of wolves roam freely in the countryside.”

But she also warns that: ¨The Scottish governments must immediately start with educating the local sheep farmers on how to effectively protect their herds and provide compensation schemes for the first years until the protection measures are adopted and effectively managed.”

There still is no official confirmation of the whereabouts of the wolf pack due to the danger of negative local repercussions by hunters and farmers as well as sheepherders. A veterinarian involved with the release of the wolf pack confirmed, that scientists are tracking the wolves and are monitoring their behaviour.

We are strongly supporting this fantastic news and are preparing educational material plus training seminars for Scottish sheep herders on how to best protect their herds.

We will keep you updated on this fantastic turn of events in the United Kingdom.

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14 thoughts on “Wolf pack released in the Scottish Highlands

  1. Dear All,
    As you expected, this was an April’s fool joke. Interestingly enough there were quite a few wolf related April fools joke across Europe like the one concerning the Scotish inventor with the dental implants for sheep so that they could bite back.


    This is for us a good sign that the general public is in fact positive towards the come back of the wolves across the European countryside.

    We know that this opinion will come occasionally under pressure if all of us wilderness advocates do not continue to educate, inform and communicate relentlessly of the positive effects wolves have on our ecosystem and therefore ultimately for human man kind.

    We are dedicationg our focus and energy so that in a few years a news posting on 1 April concerning wolves in Scotland will in fact NOT be an April’s fool joke. Please help us to ensure the return of the large carnivores across Europe…

    The European Wilderness Society Team
    Katrin, Karin, Gudrun, Gaia, Katrina, Jessica, Susanne, Monika, Anni, Michael, Otto, Bodo, Kurt, Vlado, Zoltan and Max

  2. April Fools Day joke or not, there is a serious point here about the need for detailed assessment of habitat capability and also some assessment of social reaction and management issues. That is what was done for the European beaver, so the same for the wolf please.

  3. My balloon of happiness popped when I relised the date. What a pity

  4. Und wie stehts’ mit der zukünftigen Wiedereinführung des Mammuts in Sibirien? tiergezogene Holzrückung wird dann möglich!


    Isabelle P.

  5. from Chloe Dalglish (twitter)
    @EUWilderness An incredible #AprilFools – Lets hope that in the near future #rewilding becomes a viable possibility!

    From Sheila W.
    I got up this morning intending to be extra careful not to fall for anything – and still nearly did!

  6. I was really exited when I read this, then I realized what day it was. I just dare not believe it. But if it’s true, it’s really marvellous news and I wish the wolves and the Highlands a beautiful future!

  7. If for real? It is not good at all and I am sad that the Wilderness Society would think it ‘good news’! Such a move, without effective public consultation would be impossible for the Scottish government to sanction. Thus, if carried out by ‘partisans’ it will first add to the sense of alienation many farmers and upland estate owners already feel toward ‘wildlife’ groups. It will also alienate the Scottish government, who will be placed in the unenviable position of capturing or shooting the wolves, whilst the majority of relatively uninformed public would want them to remain. Perhaps it is a joke from the Wilderness Society as well as the clandestine wolf people…if so, it is not appreciated.

  8. I think a giant pig was also spotted flying over London earlier today…

  9. Must be an April Fool’s joke; the legislative and licensing restrictions plus the legal requirement for public consultation are too high for this not to be!

  10. I do so hope this is not an April Fool’s joke!
    If for real, marvellous, assuming this turns out well, especially for the wolves.
    Whatever, best wishes!

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Join more 100+ forest experts demanding a radical change in German forestry management.

Sign the Open Letter to the German Federal Minister of Forestry and Agriculture

Open Letter to the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Federal Ministry of
Food and Agriculture
Minister Julia Klöckner
11055 Berlin

Dear Minister Klöckner,

The current situation of the forest in Germany is worrying. It is a forest crisis not only driven by climate change. The current crisis management of the forestry industry is backward-looking and harmful to the forest. The declaration announced at the meeting of ministers in Moritzburg can be described as a `Moritzburg declaration of bankruptcy´. We call on the state forestry industry to, instead of expensive rushed actions, finally carry out an expert analysis of its own work and to involve all stakeholders in this process. What is called for is a consistent departure from plantation forestry and a radical shift towards a management that treats the forest as an ecosystem and no longer as a wood factory.

On 1stAugust 2019, five forestry ministers of CDU and CSU-led states adopted a so-called “master plan” for the forest in Germany, which was affected by heat, bark beetles, fire and drought. As of 2020, the federal government is to make 800 million euros available as a reaction to climate change. This money is to be used to repair the damage caused, reforest the damaged areas and carry out `climate-adapted´ forest conversion – including the use of non-native tree species that have not yet been cultivated in the forest. Research should therefore focus on on tree species suitability and forest plant breeding in the future – keyword: `Climate-adapted forest of the future 2100´.

Remarkably, the damage caused primarily by the extreme drought of 2018 is attributed solely to climate change. Climate change is meeting a forest that is systemically ill due to the planting of non-native tree species, species poverty, monocultures, uniform structure, average low age, mechanical soil compaction, drainage etc. A healthy, resistant forest would look differently! The master plan emphasizes: sustainable, multifunctional and `active´ forest management remains indispensable – and thereby means that its unnatural state cannot be changed. Reference is made to the `carbon storage and substitution effects´ of wood products. The use of wood, e.g. in the construction industry, should be increased and thus the demand for wood should be further fueled – while knowing that the forest in Germany already cannot meet this demand. In fact, forest owners are suffering from poor timber prices due to an oversupply of trunk wood on the world market.

All these demands make clear: the current forestry strategy, which has been practiced for decades, should not change in principle. The concept is simple: cut down trees – plant trees. At best, the `design´ of the future artificial forests consisting of perfectly calculated tree species mixtures, that are believed to survive climate change without damages, can be changed. In all seriousness, the intention is to continue selling the public a so-called `future strategy´ to save the forest. This strategy seamlessly follows the model of a wood factory, that is met with general rejection and must be regarded as a failure in view of the coniferous plantations that are currently collapsing on a large scale. An essential part of the forests that have currently died is exactly the part that was reestablished in 1947 as coniferous monocultures on a much larger area than today. There is only one difference to the situation at the time: considerable amounts of money are to be made available from taxes for forest owners this time.

Climate change is progressing, and this, without a doubt, has massive impacts on all terrestrial ecosystems, including forests. To pretend that the last two years of drought alone caused the disaster is too cheap. On closer inspection, the disaster is also the result of decades of a forestry focused on conifers – in a country that was once naturally dominated by mixed deciduous forests. People do not like to admit that for more than 200 years they have relied on the wrong species of commercial tree (spruce) and have also created artificial, ecologically highly unstable and thus high-risk forest ecosystems. A whole branch of business has become dependent on coniferous wood. And now the German coniferous timber industry is on the verge of bankruptcy.

It would only have been honest and also a sign of political greatness if you and the forestry ministers in Moritzburg had declared: Yes, our forestry industry has made mistakes in the past, and yes, we are ready for a relentless analysis that takes into account not only purely silvicultural, but also forest-ecological aspects. Instead, you have confined yourselves to pre-stamped excuses that are already familiar to everyone and that lack any self-critical reflection.

Clear is: We finally need resting periods for the forest in Germany, which has been exploited for centuries. We need a new, ecologically oriented concept for future forest – not a hectic `forest conversion´, but simply forest development closer towards nature. This gives the forest as an ecosystem the necessary leeway to self-regulate and react to the emerging environmental changes. We need a systemic forest management that is no less profitable than the present one, but must be substantially more stable and resistant to foreseeable environmental changes. The aid for forest owners that all citizens are now required to pay through their taxes is only politically justified in the interest of common good, if the forests of the future that are being promoted by it, do not end up in the next disaster, some of which is produced by the forest management itself.

That is why the signatories request from the the Federal Government, and in particular you, Mrs Klöckner, a master plan worthy of the name:

On disaster areas (mainly in public forests!) reestablishment through natural forest development (ecological succession), among other things with pioneer tree species, is to be brought about. In private forests, ecological succession for reestablishment must be purposefully promoted. Larger bare areas should be planted with a maximum of 400 to 600 large plants of native species per hectare in order to permit ecological succession parallelly.
To promote ecological succession, the areas should no longer be completely and mechanically cleared; as much wood as possible should be left in the stand (to promote optimum soil and germ bed formation, soil moisture storage and natural protection against browsing). In private forests, the abandonment of use in disaster areas should be specifically promoted for ecological reasons and in order to relieve the burden on the timber market.

Regarding the promotion of reestablishment plantings in private forests: priority for native tree species (of regional origin); choose wide planting distances in order to leave enough space for the development of pioneer species. For the forests of the future: Minimize thinning (low-input principle), build up stocks through targeted development towards old thick trees, protect the inner forest climate / promote self-cooling function (should have highest priority due to rapidly progressing climate change!), prohibit heavy machinery, refrain from further road construction and expansion, permit and promote natural self-regulatory development processes in the cultivated forest and on (larger) separate areas in the sense of an compound system; drastically reduce the density of ungulate game (reform of hunting laws).

Like in the field of organic agriculture, which has been established since the 1980s, the crisis of our forests should be the reason today to transform at least two existing forestry-related universities. They should be turned into universities for interdisciplinary forest ecosystem management. This is a contribution not only to the further development of forestry science and silviculture in Germany, but also of global importance! The goal must be to produce wood through largely natural forest production and to start with it here in Germany, the birthplace of forestry.


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