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Concern over “wilding” Yorkshire

[Tuesday 28 July 2009]

PLANS to “re-wild” parts of Britain with once native animals such as beavers, wolves and sea eagles caused a clash of opinions at a debate staged at the Country Land and Business Association annual game fair yesterday.

A panel of experts from Natural England, the RSPB, the Game and Wildlife Trust and CLA deputy president William Worsley, the North Yorkshire landowner, all agreed that grey squirrels and species like the imported muntjac deer caused havoc in woodland – but they took a different stance when it came to “re-wilding.”

But William Worsley sounded a strong word of caution: "Any re-wilding proposal has to have proper consideration and consultation. We have real concerns, particularly about re-wilding the larger species such as beavers. I am a tree grower and where I live in Yorkshire we have real fears about the damage and the possible economic consequences of re-wilding the wrong species.

"Some species have been extinct in this country for hundreds of years and very often they are not around for a specific reason. Wolves, for instance, are extinct because they can kill people and so I think that any re-wilding must be given proper considerations."

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