Since even before the industrial revolution wildlife in Europe has been on a sharp decline. Over the years animals deeply ingrained in Europe’s history and lore like the bear and the wolf have seen their numbers consistently dwindle. In a surprise piece of positive news, a BBC News article covers a new study that finds that many of these species thought to be on a slow path to extinction are actually making a comeback in terms of their populations.
Frans Schepers, the director of the foundation Rewilding Europe, says that the resurgence of these species has actually been going on since after WWII. The relative calm of post-war Europe coupled with a more recent trend of re-urbanization from rural European areas has allowed some endangered animals to reproduce in a more natural and conducive environment. The repopulation of European animals like the lynx, bear, eagle, and wolf are not all due to indirect circumstance, however. Experts believe that environmental protection and conservation laws put into place by the European Union have played a large role as well. Moratoriums on hunting have helped curtail the decline of some of these majestic animals.
Conservationists see this development as a road map for other parts of the world. While this trend is certainly encouraging, the rest of the world, especially developing countries, are experiencing consistent decline in biodiversity and animal populations. Regulations put into place by the EU could possibly help turn the tide in other parts of the world.
While environmentalists and conservationists are heralding the news, not everyone is happy. The return of dangerous predators like the wolf are cause for concern for farmers who see them as a threat to their flocks of cattle and sheep. The counter to that point of view, as noted by the BBC article, is that increased biodiversity could increase ecotourism to Europe and bring more money into rural areas.
The reemergence of Europe’s wildlife will certainly be a slow process, but hopefully this news will provide a good jumping off point for Europe as well as other parts of the world when it comes to protecting the natural world.