We are delighted to announce a new partnership between Vincent Wildlife Trust and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to help recover nature in the UK. Both organisations base their conservation work on scientific research and have complementary skills, along with experience of working both at national and international scales.
Durrell has a wealth of expertise in intensive species-recovery programmes, in particular in captive breeding and species reintroductions. Until recently, this has mostly been on projects worldwide; however, with Durrell’s ‘Rewild our World’ strategy, there is a new commitment to begin conservation programmes in the UK. It makes perfect sense to partner with Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT), who has worked for over 40 years to monitor and recover mammal species of conservation concern in UK, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe. A core focus of both VWT and Durrell is delivery of conservation that takes full account of the views and needs of local communities.
Restoring the European wildcat to Britain
Within the partnership, we will be working closely together to restore species of conservation concern to the UK, with a particular focus on the European Wildcat (Felis silvestris). The long-term goal will be to establish a self-sustaining wildcat population in an ecologically suitable landscape in Wales and/or England, working hand in hand with local people to ensure the project has community support.
There will be many steps to ensuring a successful reintroduction, which is still many years away. As a first step, VWT and Durrell have undertaken a preliminary scientific feasibility study to identify potential landscapes for reintroduction, based on a range of broad-scale ecological factors. The next crucial stage is to conduct in-depth ecological and social feasibility studies to find out which areas are most suitable. Some of this detailed work will be carried out in collaboration with the University of Exeter through a joint PhD studentship, which is due to start later this year.
Banner photo: ©Mark Williams