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Photo © Jon Cranfield

Presented by Nicola Morris (Trustee ARG UK, Head of Environment and Engagement at South West Lakes Trust), our expert panel explored some of the concepts surrounding the role of reintroductions in rewilding, with a focus on our native amphibians and reptiles.

We were treated to three different but interlocking presentations - firstly we heard from Chris Gleed-Owen, Director of CGO Ecology Ltd on his PhD researc,h with a whistle stop tour of what constitutes 'nativeness' based on the sub fossil record, and how climatic changes have driven species movements. Bringing us up to the present day John Baker, Trustee of ARG UK and Manager of the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation pool frog reintroduction programme gave us an overview of the roots of rewilding, and the experience of working on a native species reintroduction following IUCN guidelines. Finally Mark Elliot who is lead on the Devon Beaver project for The Devon Wildlife Trust provided a fascinating insight into the reintroduction of a keystone species, and the challenges and joys of watching the way in which these animals, driven to extinction by human agency just 400 years ago, are remodelling the landscape to the benefit of our native aquatic creatures.

A massive thank you to all our speakers and especially to Nicola Morris for doing an amazing job of chairing and enabling such an invigorating discussion.

Catch up here

You can watch the seminar here:

With special thanks to The Garfield Weston Foundation, who kindly sponsored the evening.

 Poll Results From ‘The Role Of Reintroductions In Rewilding’ Seminar

Here are the poll results from the on the night voting. 

 Poll A1 – Should scarce resources be spent on reintroducing formerly extinct species, or should they be focused on the conservation of existing native resident species?

1. Focus on conservation of current native species

2. Reintroduce some formerly extinct species

3. Not sure

Based on 89% of 266 people voting

Poll A1

A2 – Should there be a programme to boost populations of existing native species through reintroductions (e.g. Common Toad and Adder), that have undergone significant declines

1. Yes

2. No

3. Some species

4. Not sure


Based on 89% of 266 people voting

Poll A2


B – Where species ranges are moving north in response to climate change, should they be actively assisted to cross the English Channel, even if there is no evidence they were previously a native resident species in Britain.

1. Yes – bring them across

2. No – maintain the Channel as a barrier

3. Not sure


Based on 90% of 266 people voting

Poll B


C – The IUCN guidelines outline how reintroducing and reinforcing species should be carried out.

Are they:

1. Very important, and should be followed carefully

2. A useful guide to help projects identify issues and processes

3. Too bureaucratic, and should be ignored

4. Not sure


Based on 83% of 266 people voting

Poll C




Saturday, 03 Feb – Sunday, 04 Feb 2024
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