Azara Blog: Study about reintroducing wolves into Scotland

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Date published: 2007/01/31

The BBC says:

Reintroducing wild wolves to the Scottish Highlands would help the local ecosystem, a study suggests.

Wolves, which were hunted to extinction in Scotland in the late 1700s, would help control the numbers of red deer, the team from the UK and Norway said.

This would aid the re-establishment of plants and birds - currently hampered by the deer population, they write in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

But farmers say more livestock would be killed if wolves are reintroduced.

The researchers' findings used a predator/prey model to assess the probable consequences on the Highland's red deer population.

Why would anyone trust a simple-minded predator/prey model by a bunch of academics, especially ones who no doubt would like to see wolves reintroduced, so are hardly unbiased? The world does not have a good track record when it comes to (re)introducing one species to prey on a second species. Quite often there are severe unintended consequences.

And the farmers are no doubt right, more livestock would be killed (that is a forseen, so an intended, consequence). The real question is how many, and would the farmers be compensated as a result? Of course farmers are a minority and so their rights can be trampled by the urban majority. It's called "democracy".

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