Guest blog – Why so timid on rewilding? by Olaf Lipor

Olaf Lipor is a well-known Scandinavian naturalist with a long track record of engagement in citizen science projects. His previous Guest Blogs here, about three, two and one year ago, were on a Fat Tax, Citizen Science and Pipit/Harrier interactions.

Olaf is not yet found on Twitter.

Olaf’s new book, Shades of Orange – a colourblind look at the countryside is currently awaiting publication.

Rewilding is currently the hot topic of the conservationist movement in the almost United Kingdom, and so it should be. But looking in from the outside, I am concerned that the green movement is being far too cautious in its approach to restoring the ecosystems of those islands.

When you live in a northern bog on the edge of the Arctic Circle you have a lot of time to read, and read I do, in fact I have read so many books I am now an expert on a whole spectrum of things, be that cross stitch patterns of the late 1890s or rewilding. I have recently read two books on rewilding Britain, both authors write eloquently about bringing back long lost animals, but I noticed that they both seem to focus on bringing back spotty things like Lynx and 101 Pelicans, and in doing so they omit to mention the fact that Britain is lacking the animal that it needs to become whole again.

Britain needs to bring back the Dragon. I am amazed that the recent two books I have read on the subject fail to mention this fabulous beast, is it a lack of ambition or is it something more insidious, is there a conspiracy going on, are they deliberately not mentioning this apex predator? Why is it that no one is talking about reintroducing Dragons?

At a recent virtual conference I attended, someone had the temerity to suggest that Dragons didn’t exist and that was the reason that they weren’t talked about! Can you believe it? Incredible attitude. To say that Dragons don’t exist is surely an insult to all, especially the Welsh and the English, two nations that have the Dragon interwoven into their very fabric. Just look at the Welsh flag! If they didn’t exist, then what exactly did the mighty Saint George, bastion of the Christian faith and patron saint of England, slay in the north African desert? As an aside, isn’t it genuinely heartwarming to see white English males proclaiming their loyalty to their Syrian hero by shaving their heads and going on noisy marches waving his flag proudly? Anyway I digress. To say that Dragons don’t exist is to question one of the main tenets of Christianity, without one you cannot have the other, so obviously Dragons are real. Next people will be saying that the Trolls that rampage through the bog outside my cabin are just figments of my imagination too!

So, now that we have discounted that ridiculous argument, it is time to look forward. It is a time for action, we must fight this rewilding conspiracy, we must defeat the apathy of conservationists, we must bring back the Dragon.

Yes, there will be resistance, the newly formed Worried Alliance of National Keepers Associations (why don’t they come up with snappy acronyms for these groups?) has already stated their objections to the reintroduction of anything, saying that all rewilding amounts to is the mass release of animals in to the countryside without any thought as to their impact.

But we should expect this sort of drivel from them, what we shouldn’t expect is resistance from so called rewilders. We should not cower from being ambitious just because Dragons bring a bit of baggage with them, we should embrace the opportunity to discuss the fire breathing, the cattle killing and the odd princess snatching. They are all things that can be overcome. Local Wildlife Trusts don’t have to worry about aspects of Dragon behaviour that may bring them into disrepute with the dog emptying visitor’s on their reserves, there are ways to manage Dragons. It is nothing new, people have even written books about it. I have just ordered what I believe to be the go to manual on Dragon reintroduction entitled ‘How to train your Dragon’, this book has been so successful that they have also brought out several volumes of instructional video, I cannot believe that the so called rewilders of Britain aren’t aware of these highly successful reintroduction manuals and films.

Now is not the time for us to be timid in our ambitions. Now is not the time to avoid difficult conversations. Now is not the time for apathy or conspiracy. Now is not the time for division in the conservation movement. Now is the time for Dragons! And apparently, according to my nurse, it is also time for my medication, must go.

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12 Replies to “Guest blog – Why so timid on rewilding? by Olaf Lipor”

  1. I understand that there is a hidden agenda by grouse moot owners to reintroduce Dragons on their estates as a cheap way of burning off the heather.

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  2. The White tailed Eagle is said by experts to be 'a flying barn door'; how much more lethal, then, to the pigs of Norfolk and elsewhere (which contrary to the suppositions of some ignorant people are entirely incapable of flying away) would be something that would be conservatively estimated to be a flying castle door?

    In addition to the obvious threat to farm livestock, it is evident that the reintroduction of these fearsome beasts would result in a scorched earth decimation of wild birds of upland and lowland alike. It is already a colossal burden on the true guardians of our wildlife to keep everything in balance and it is unreasonable to expect these honest countrymen to have to devise methods for killing yet another voracious predator wherever it appears.

    It is all very well for Mr Lipoor, sitting in his ivory bog, to foist his dangerous ideas upon us, but this ill-advised introduction will be hard to wind back once the damage has been wrought. The Worried Alliance of National Gamekeepers Associations, its fist firmly clenched around the staff of truth and shaking it vigorously in the face of all threats to our beloved way of life, will resist this madness come what may.

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    1. Jonathon,
      Olaf has asked me to reply - unfortunately he cannot type at the moment due to an unfortunate accident whilst hand feeding his pet Wolverine.
      He states that the obsession with shaking the staff of truth makes you blind to reality.
      He also points out that there is no authenticated record of a Dragon ever taking a pig, regardless of them being from Norfolk...

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  3. I have just consulted someone who has read all 12 of the manuals Olaf refers to. Apparently, dragons are currently in deep hibernation awaiting the time when they can peacefully coexist alongside a more civilized mankind. Might be a long wait.

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  4. If ambition is lacking then perhaps we should also raise the prospect of a reintroduction program for the wyvern and the worm, after all we have certain proof of the latter from Lambton. As neither breath fire then the MA and their serfs in the NGO will have to go back to blaming the largely innocent public for the uncontrolled wildfires they themselves are responsible for.

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  5. One of my objections to the reintroduction of dragons is their propensity to hoard gold in offshore caves where they attack anyone trying to check up on the size of their hoard.

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    1. Not a problem Gerald as long as you can find a hobbit to help you steal it or so I am lead to believe! Bloody hell those magic mushrooms are good.

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  6. Reintroduction of apex predators can be a good thing i.e George Monbiot's "How wolves changed rivers" but I believe that the reintroduction of dragons in other countries led to the extirpation of the Lirpa Loof. All were gone by midday apparently.

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  7. An odd coincidence but I just learnt this morning that the hoarding of gold and other treasures is known as "thesauration"
    Alexander the Great "dethaurasised" the great temples of the East (by stealing it!) putting some £285 billion by today's money into circulation as coinage.... Largely to pay his army which required half a ton of silver a day to pay!
    Highly recommended.... "Debt. The first 5000 years by David Graeber.

    On a separate note... The suggestion that once Scotland and Northern Ireland leave us, that we have a flag consisting of the St. George Cross with the Welsh dragon planted in the centre strikes me as a splendidly mixed message.

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  8. I appreciate I may be taken for a 'fool', but I'd like the make the point that having recently walked extensively, at length in Norway, across countryside much like the UK Uplands, in spring, I saw pretty well zero in terms of birdlife and bio-diversity - 3 curlew, 1 pair of lapwing, 1 distant harrier, 1 peregrine, 1 eagle, 1 rabbit. Plenty of closed canopy trees, with little to nothing under them. I would even go so far as to say it was 'dead', which gives me no pleasure whatsoever.
    This week I have walked extensively in the English Uplands and saw tremendous numbers of bird life - dozens of curlew, hundreds of golden plover and lapwings, numerous skylark, and plenty of raptors.
    I guess I'd just ask who actually are the real life fools..?

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