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.