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William


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How freeing a few packs of wolves could enliven the Scots economy
Date Posted: 14.39hrs on Wed 31 Jan 07
From the Times:
[www.timesonline.co.uk]


Reintroducing wolves to the Scottish Highlands to control the rapidly growing red deer population would boost the economy and help to protect the environment, a study suggests.

Red deer have been blamed for destroying trees and vegetation in the Highlands and it is thought that packs of wolves could reduce their numbers by more than half, saving estates from having to carry out costly culls. The wolves could also cut the number of animals that eat game birds and their eggs.

Researchers from Imperial College, London, and two Norwegian universities said that the spread of wolves was likely to be so successful that within a century of their reintroduction, wolf trophy hunting could begin again. Scotland’s last wolf was shot dead in 1769.

The study suggests that the wolves would be responsible for up to 80 per cent of sheep deaths in the open, but argues that such a loss would have little impact on the viability of farms as most are already loss-making but for the support of subsidies. There would be “emotional consequences to sheep farmers”, the researchers said.

Landowners and conservationists have called for the reintroduction of wolves for several years but this is the first study to assess the potential impact. The team used computer models based on a reintroduction of three wolf packs on the Isle of Rum. Although the island is an unlikely release site, it was chosen because previous research had provided detailed information on the deer population.

After 25 years, the wolf population would increase to more than 150 per 1,000 sq km (386 sq miles), then fall to about 20 per 1,000 sq km as pack sizes stabilised, similar to the number seen in the wild today in the Bialoweiza Forest in Poland. Simultaneously, the deer population would drop from more than twenty per sq km to about seven.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society, said: “Model results suggest that a wolf reintroduction would be economically beneficial for deer estates.” The reduction would also help forest regeneration, improve forest animal breeding rates, especially birds, and cut the number of deer ticks, which pass on Lyme disease to people.

Tim Coulson, of Imperial College, London, said that trophy hunting of wolves could be one of the potential economic benefits. “It would be possible for a few individuals of a viable population of wolves to be hunted. If the wolf population was successful there’s nothing to stop a few licences being issued,” he said.

The study said that, although Highland sheep farms mainly depended on subsidies, the loss of livestock to wolves should be considered beyond profit and loss assessments. Farmers could be compensated for livestock losses but that their emotional attachment to their sheep “should not be ignored”.

Much of the research was based on studies in Yellowstone Park, in the United States, where the reintroduction programme had been so successful that wildlife managers were considering issuing hunting licences.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service said on Monday that wolf numbers were high enough to warrant taking them off the endangered species list in three states. Removal is being considered for three more states.

Dr Coulson said that wolves were wary of people and that attacks by them were “extremely unusual”.

Call of the wild

# Wolves can measure up to 6ft (1.8m) nose to tail

# They usually travel 10-30 miles a day but can manage 125. They can sprint at 35mph. Territory is from 50 to 5,000 square miles

# During chases they can sprint at 35mph, and can run for up to ten miles at 15mph. Their prey is usually exhausted within three miles

# In Scotland their prey would be mainly red deer. Elsewhere it includes reindeer, elk and bison

# They can eat 20lb (9kg) of meat in one sitting

# They howl to proclaim territory, improve group bonding and call pack members to a kill

# They live for about six years but have been known to reach 13 years

alan


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Re: How freeing a few packs of wolves could enliven the Scots economy
Date Posted: 14.44hrs on Wed 31 Jan 07
I think there's at least one other thread on this lurking in the forums. William are you for or against, or unsure?

William


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Re: How freeing a few packs of wolves could enliven the Scots economy
Date Posted: 14.54hrs on Wed 31 Jan 07
I can certainly see the case for a experiment. I think one of the major estate holders in the Monadhliath Mountains was in favour? (sorry, forget her name?).

Wolves are beautiful creatures, and to see them again in their natural habitat would be wonderful, but this has to be weighed against the farmer's inevitable losses. It seems that it has worked elsewhere, so why not in the Highlands?

growwild


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Re: How freeing a few packs of wolves could enliven the Scots economy
Date Posted: 15.04hrs on Wed 31 Jan 07
It would be great if they brought them in, the herd would get geneticaly stronger. I think the deer have dropped in size and strength since the wolves were taken out,, the shooters usualy go for the best stag, as where the wolves would take the weakest and leave the stronger faster ones tae get on with it and in turn make the herd stonger...

Is there not a country in Europe where man and wolves and livetsock live together that is a lot smaller than Scotland?

Plus it would be good for tourism and might keep the numpties aff the hills in their sandals and shorts getting lost!

I would even be partial tae allow a few brown bears tae roam, in a managed estate.

How good would it be tae be oot camping, with some chill in ma lungs, listening tae them howwwwwwwwwl!

HTH


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Re: How freeing a few packs of wolves could enliven the Scots economy
Date Posted: 15.20hrs on Wed 31 Jan 07

> Dr Coulson said that wolves were wary of people
> and that attacks by them were “extremely
> unusual”.
> >
> # Wolves can measure up to 6ft (1.8m) nose to
> tail
>
> # During chases they can sprint at 35mph, and can
> run for up to ten miles at 15mph. Their prey is
> usually exhausted within three miles
>
> # They can eat 20lb (9kg) of meat in one sitting
>
> # They howl to proclaim territory, improve group
> bonding and call pack members to a kill
>

Wolves & Bears are cute, but the facts above make me a bit wary.

Attacks on humans are rare, but possible, and I don't fancy being chased for 3mls, before collapsing with exhaustion, and having 20lbs of me chewed off!!! - (Even though I could do with losing a bit.)

Another posting about a rare but cute creature being returned to Scottish woodlands: [www.winterhighland.info]




growwild


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Re: How freeing a few packs of wolves could enliven the Scots economy
Date Posted: 15.44hrs on Wed 31 Jan 07
Are boars not dangerous wee crettins to, I thought the wee brutes charged people...

I'd rather walk aboot an area wi wolves in it than certain parts of Glasgow anyday...

Wit aboot the beaver is that still on the go, there is a serious lack of beaver in Scotland!

Plus these big cat things that are suppose tae be roaming aboot, anyone here think there is?

William


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Re: How freeing a few packs of wolves could enliven the Scots economy
Date Posted: 15.56hrs on Wed 31 Jan 07
Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think there has ever been a proven fatal attack on a human by a wild wolf?

There are huge areas of Scotland with plenty of food for wolves that would keep them away from humans. They have far more to fear from us, than us from them.

Like growwild, I also wouldn't mind seeing a experimental re-introduction of bears, although bears are much more inquisitive than wolves and more likely to find themselves in towns foraging through dustbins (anyone been to Banff? (In Canada))

HTH - I don't know how fit you are, but I don't think many of us could sprint for three miles over hills and glens! 300 yards would be pushing it.

(PS I came face to face with a wild boar in Cape Tribulation in Queensland. I thought at first that it was a huge black bear, even though bears don't live in Queensland. The beast was huge, easily four foot at the shoulders, and pretty angry looking. Very scary moment. Also, when hiking in Nagano, Japan, you are given a little bell to ring to ward off wild bears! Apparently it works, but I would not like to have been in a position to have to try it)



Edited 2 times. Last edit at 16.03hrs Wed 31 Jan 07 by William.

HTH


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Re: How freeing a few packs of wolves could enliven the Scots economy
Date Posted: 16.02hrs on Wed 31 Jan 07
Like I said, I need to lose the 20lbs anyway...plus whatever the wolves eat! smiling smiley

Actually, if they could munch the bit in the middle, that'd help a lot. - Maybe a market for this Cosmetic Wolfo-Suction lark after all?



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 16.05hrs Wed 31 Jan 07 by HTH.

William


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Re: How freeing a few packs of wolves could enliven the Scots economy
Date Posted: 16.08hrs on Wed 31 Jan 07
Maybe we could get Sam Sheepdog a job?

Attachments: 250px-Sam_and_Ralph_choke.png (69kB)  
Mattun


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Re: How freeing a few packs of wolves could enliven the Scots economy
Date Posted: 18.11hrs on Wed 31 Jan 07
I remember walking through Yellowstone a few years ago and hearing a wolf - which muct have been in the forest around 200m away - howl. really quite an experience.

On the issue of safety, the key is to ensure that the wolves don't lose their fear of humans. Yellowstone were getting worried about this, and were doing something to combat this (can't remember what).

I believe some people also want to see the return of the Lynx.

Incidentally - I think tehre may be some opposition to the trophy hunting idea - although all the anti-hunt protesters would provide a further boost to the Highlands economy winking smiley


alan


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Re: How freeing a few packs of wolves could enliven the Scots economy
Date Posted: 18.49hrs on Wed 31 Jan 07
With Lynx esp there would need to be careful consideration to the potential impact on Wildcats.

Keep an eye out for eyes on the CairnGorm ski road if driving on it in the dark or around dawn/dusk - have seen wildcats on a few occasions crossing the road.

Hustler


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Re: How freeing a few packs of wolves could enliven the Scots economy
Date Posted: 20.48hrs on Wed 31 Jan 07
I'd love to see the re-introduction of wolves in Scotland.
I've a soft spot for them after seeing one quite close, by moonlight in Banff national park in Alberta several years ago. I'd been out touring and was just back at the hut door after nightfall. It knew we were there and wasn't hugely bothered, just ambled away across a clearing and disapeared. I reckon it must have met skiers before. Presumably, it thought of skiers as neither food nor threat. I think curiosity and food smells brought it close to the hut.
With starving deer and mad over-grazing across the Highlands now, in the long run it would be great for their health to have a true predator around, bring back natural selection.

William


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Re: How freeing a few packs of wolves could enliven the Scots economy
Date Posted: 12.32hrs on Fri 2 Feb 07
From The Times
[www.timesonline.co.uk]


Little Red Riding Hood was a fantasist. She made up the whole story to explain why she was wandering through the woods in the middle of the night. She cried wolf, as humans have done since earliest times.

Sweet girl, no doubt about that. Terrific outfit. But the truth is that Little Red Riding Hood simply pinned her sexual fears on the usual culprit: the Big Bad Wolf.

*
Wolves do not eat grandmothers, nor anyone else for that matter. Incidents of non-rabid wolves attacking human beings are virtually non-existent. A wasp sting is far more likely to kill you than a wolf. So far from climbing into your granny’s bed, wolves will do whatever they can to avoid people.

Yet humanity has a more twisted and peculiar relationship with the wolf than any other animal. The wolf’s direct descendant is man’s best friend, but the wolf itself is our worst enemy, the very beast in man, exterminated, reviled, driven to the wildest corners of the world and the outer reaches of superstition.

Even the language reflects our innate wolf-terror: wolf whistle, wolfing our food, keeping the wolf from the door, wolf in sheep’s clothing. As recently as 1933, the English clergyman Montague Summers treated the werewolf myth as reality, a creature “possessed of all the characteristics, the foul appetites, ferocity, cunning, the brute strength, the swiftness of that animal”. The poor wolf is even a fairytale threat to property, huffing and puffing and blowing your house down.

The last British wolf was hunted and killed in the Findhorn Valley in Scotland in 1743. The time has now come to bring them back, for reasons environmental and economic, but also cultural. Reintroducing wolves would demonstrate that conservation means trying to balance nature again, and not merely tweaking it. The wilderness has gone, but “rewilding” at least part of the landscape by bringing back the wolf would also restore some of the lost wildness in our imaginations.

This week a new study published by the Royal Society laid out the argument with rare scientific clarity: reintroducing wolves to the Highlands would control the spread of red deer, reduce the cost of culling, increase plant and birdlife diversity, encourage reforestation, bring tourist revenue and provide new jobs in a region hit by declining agriculture. Farmers would need compensation for some loss of livestock, but since Scottish farms are already dependent on subsidy, the study suggests, the impact of wolves is likely to be more “emotional” than economic.

Attitudes to wolves may be changing. Farmers, naturally, oppose reintroduction, but not nearly as vigorously as the organisations that represent farmers. Opinion polls suggest tentative public support for reintroducing wolves.

Ten years after wolves returned to Yellowstone Park in America, scientists report increased biodiversity across the ecosystem and limited impact on livestock, despite the initially dire predictions of local ranchers.

Reintroducing wolves in Scotland would be bitterly opposed by animal rights campaigners anxious about the trauma inflicted on the wolves’ prey, and by ramblers demanding unfettered access, yet there is surely no more symbolic way to demonstrate a new approach to sharing this cramped planet.

No country has lost a greater proportion of its large animals over the past 2,000 years than Britain. The three most important carnivores — wolves, lynx and bear — are all gone. Instead, vast herds of deer, many of them non-indigenous, chew across the landscape. Partly as a result, only a tiny fraction remains of what was once the great and ancient Caledonian forest. Six thousand years ago we had just 14,000 badgers; now we have a quarter of a million or more; then we had 6,000 wolves, and now we have none.

No one is suggesting that wolves be allowed to wander unconfined and unsupervised, but there is surely enough space in Scotland for some of it to be restored as an ecosystem working in the way it was supposed to. Already, some enlightened Scottish landowners are setting aside large tracts of lands preparatory to reintroducing wolves and other natural predators.

The balance may finally be shifting away from civilised destruction and back towards wilderness. This, in turn, reflects the shift of power in the countryside, away from farmers and traditional landowners, and towards other rural interests, including conservation and tourism.

Yet the cultural fear remains. In large parts of Europe, bears are protected where wolves are still hunted. The same people who condemn Indian villagers for killing tigers (which do kill and eat people) also shudder at the prospect of reintroducing wolves (which do not).

Perhaps the wolf-fear embedded in our DNA dates back to a time when we competed with wolves for food, but most hunter-gatherer societies saw the wolf as an ally and an inspiration. At some point, the relationship grew so close that we let wolves into our homes, to became dogs. It was as sedentary agriculturalists that we learnt to hate and fear the wolf, a savage threat to be ruthlessly extirpated in reality, and persecuted in myth.

Popular culture has sought to rehabilitate the wolf, often investing the animal with a romantic aura as extreme and irrational as the mythical terror that preceded it.

I do not want to dance with wolves, like Kevin Costner, nor run with the wolves, like Clarissa Pinkola Estés. But I would dearly love to see them hunt across the Highlands again. I have only heard a wolf howl once, in Wyoming. It was the most purely feral and entrancing sound I have ever heard.

The American writer Edward Hoagland wrote that “a mountain with a wolf on it stands a little higher”. After the steady ecological diminution of Scotland by man, sheep and deer, a wolf pack howling across the Highlands for the first time in a quarter-millennium might allow the mountains, and us, to stand a little taller.

alan


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Re: How freeing a few packs of wolves could enliven the Scots economy
Date Posted: 12.44hrs on Fri 2 Feb 07
Quote:
would be bitterly opposed by animal rights campaigners anxious about the trauma inflicted on the wolves’ prey,


I hope none of them have pet cats then! tongue sticking out smiley

William


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Re: How freeing a few packs of wolves could enliven the Scots economy
Date Posted: 12.49hrs on Fri 2 Feb 07
I never really understood that?

Animal rights campaigners are worried about a natural predator catching it's dinner? What do they want the wolf to eat? Porridge?

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