Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Alarm as large extinct mammals to be released in British countryside

The debate continues to rage this week about the ethics of reintroducing endangered or entirely lost large mammals back into the British countryside.

Opinions remain divided. On the one hand, supporters of the principle argue that the reintroduction of iconic species will have a trickle-down benefit for wildlife of all shapes and sizes, and will encourage wildlife tourism in remote areas.

“The environmental benefits will be considerable,” said Arthur Balsam, professor of ecology at the University of St Ives. “But we shouldn’t underestimate the economic benefits that will also accrue. People will come a long way and pay good money to see an iconic large mammal that once graced our green and pleasant land but has been lost for some years.

“And let’s be frank, our large mammal fauna is seriously impoverished and imperilled these days. At the top of the food chain we still have David Attenborough, but for how long? Beneath him you’ve got Chris Packham, clearly the beta male aspiring for alpha dominance. And then what? Bill Oddie is evidently a spent force these days, and then there’s the rest of them all wittering away about the ‘most deadly’ this and that, and appearing on Strictly Come Dancing, for fuck’s sake.

“With a little imagination and some considerable scientific effort we could reintroduce some lost species. Imagine, if you will, a British countryside reinvigorated with Gerald Durrells and H.G.Alexanders. The passion for conservation, the dedication to the study of natural history... It’d be amazing to bring these big beasts back”.

Some however remain less than convinced by the concept. Enid Felcher, a keen rambler and committed Daily Mail reader, said “I’d not feel safe in the countryside with these large, dangerous mammals on the loose. Where would it all end?

“I’d be walking the North Downs way and would find myself confronted by Johnny Morris in a 1960s zookeeper’s uniform, carrying a bemused penguin, and doing strangulated anthropomorphic voices for the Kestrels and Field Mice.

“Which would be properly scary shit”.

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