Increase in Europe’s wildlife shows potential for recovery

In late September, Reconstruction in Europe published a new report that provides an up-to-date overview of the wildlife and birds that have increased in Europe over the past decades and the success factors that contributed to recovery.

Animal species are disappearing all over the world at an unprecedented rate. According to the latest Live Planet report from the World Wildlife Fund, the number of wild animals has declined by more than two-thirds in the past 50 years. A strong decline can also be observed in Europe. However, against this disturbing background, there are also breeds that do well, some of which have made an amazing comeback since the 1970s.

continuous recovery

In 2013 a pioneering publication, The Return of Wildlife in Europe, first described the recovery of selected species of European mammals and birds. Now, nearly a decade later, Reconstructing Europe presents the latest findings on the return of European wildlife in an updated and comprehensive report. A new updated report on Wildlife in Europe was commissioned by the Rebuilding Europe Foundation and written by a team of experts from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), BirdLife International and the European Bird Census Council (EBCC).

The new report describes the ongoing recovery of several species, including the beaver, bald eagle, visnet, brown bear, humpback whale and gray wolf. Barnacle goose, griffon eagle, great egret, and Dalmatian pelican recover well from birds.

Maximize recovery

Continuous recovery is encouraging. However, the in-depth analysis also shows that the return of wildlife in Europe is still incomplete, and even those species that are doing well are still under pressure. Some species – such as otters and eagles – even show a recent decline in range.

Understanding how these pressures constrain species recovery is vital to the recovery of all European animal species. “This new report highlights not only which European animal species are recovering well, but also why they are recovering so well,” said Frans Schippers, director of Rebuilding Europe. “By learning from these success stories, we can maximize wildlife returns across the board.”

The last post clearly shows that animals and birds can and will come back if we give them space. Measures such as better protection, prevention of damage, and the increase, connectivity and improvement of protected areas, promote the recovery of wildlife species. “It clearly demonstrates the importance of good European nature restoration legislation. Last June, the European Commission submitted a proposal for a new nature restoration law. A much needed tool for restoring wild animal species in Europe,” says wildlife expert Gert Politt Global Nature. box.

Also better for humans

Today, many European landscapes remain completely devoid of wildlife. And when wildlife returns, it often presents challenges – particularly when it comes to large carnivores such as bears and wolves, which are often seen as a threat to humans and other animals.

But the pros of recovering wildlife are great. The return of wild animals contributes to providing healthier and more efficient ecosystems, and thus also contributes to the well-being of people. For example, more and more is known about the positive impact of wildlife on the landscape, sequestering carbon in the soil and preventing wildfires. In addition, we are increasingly going on vacation within Europe and local economies are benefiting from the growing natural tourism.

a plus

Supporting the return of wildlife is one of the primary goals of rebuilding Europe. Through large-scale restoration of nature, the habitat of many species again becomes attractive and often returns on its own. Sometimes it is necessary to help nature a little by reintroducing certain species. To further accelerate the return of wildlife, Rebuilding Europe is launching a new fund on September 27, the European Wildlife Return Fund.

The report was prepared with the support of Arcadia (a charitable trust of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin), WWF Netherlands and the National Postcode Lottery.

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