Interview with VAWM Chairman, David Renney, on Kent TV, concerning bison re-introduction

VAWM applauds realism in bison-re-introduction project, with acknowledgement that culling may be necessary.

The Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management (VAWM) has responded to the announcement of the Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wildwood Trust that they are to re-introduce the European bison to West Blean woods in Kent.  It is hoped that this will improve the value of the woods as a wildlife habitat, increasing biodiversity in them.  Invertebrates, nightingales and turtle doves are particularly likely to benefit from the initiative.

The VAWM recognises that the issue of rewilding is a controversial one, often involving genuine concerns by experts as to the untested outcomes, in particular regarding disease.  Adding to the difficulty, the issue also encompasses some extreme views, unwavering attitudes and unrealistic outcomes.

It is in this complex area that VAWM notes with particular interest the announcement by the Kent Wildlife Trust and the Wildwood Trust and welcomes the realism with which the project is being approached.  Recognizing that, in the absence of wolves, the bison will have no predators, Stan Smith, Wilder Landscapes Manager at the Trust, acknowledges that there may be a need to cull some animals as the herd grows.  Such realism is vital if re-introductions are to be accepted by the communities in which they are made, and the environmental degradation and poor welfare resulting from over-population are to be avoided.  It is this lack of an explained ‘exit strategy’ that so often gives understandable concern to those who may have to live with the consequences and the VAWM is heartened by the attitude of these trusts.

Sensible humane wildlife management, unlike much animal-rights thinking, is accepted and supported by all conservation organisations and should always form part of any proposed rewilding project.

Click here to view the interview with David Renney on Kent TV – skip to 24 mins 44 seconds in the video to get to the bison story (opens in a new window)