In order to protect natural ecosystems and to bring back natural biodiversity, animals that have become extinct or are threatened and endangered in the wild, are placed into captive breeding programmes for the purpose of being bred and released. This helps to help strengthen and increase natural populations and their associated ecosystems.
Below you will find an alphabetical list of 10 different animal species bred for re-introduction and release into
both the UK and Europe.
Latin Name: Crex Crex
The Corncrake migrates from Africa to breed in Eurasia, but over the past 150 years numbers have seen a steep decline. In the 1990's they ceased breeding in the UK, so in 2001 Britain began breeding & release programmes.
"Corncrake's cry returns to the English countryside" - The Telegraph, June 2008
Latin Name: Castor Fiber
Importance: Wetland Management
The Beaver was hunted for it's pelt, meat & scent glands until the 14th century, when it became extinct in the UK. They were re-introduced here in 2008 & have begun to thrive ever since.
"Scotland wild beaver reintroduction trial 'an outstanding success'" The Guardian, May 2014
The Lynx became extinct in the UK in medieval times as a result of hunting and loss of habitat due to farming practices. They have been successfully re-introduced in Europe & projects have begun for re-introduction in the UK.
"Wild Lynx could be reintroduced to the British countryside after 1,300 years" - The Independent, October 2015
Latin Name: Bison Bonasus
Importance: Grassland & Soil Management
Bison existed in the UK & across Europe until 1919 when the last European Bison was hunted into extinction. Captive populations exist in the UK & after successful reintroduction in Europe, discussion is under way for their reintroduction here.
"Scottish bison to be re-introduced to the wild" - The Scotsman, April 2014
Latin Name: Ursus Arctos
Importance: Forest Management
The brown bear became extinct through over-hunting in UK in 1000 AD. They have been successfully re-introduced in Europe & plans have now begun for their re-introduction into other parts of Europe.
"Make way for the Lynx and the Bear as 'rewilding' projects gather pace across Britain"- The Guardian, May 2015
Latin Name: Canis Lupus Lupus
The wolf became extinct in the UK as a result of an imposed compulsory hunting act in 1888. They have been successfully re-introduced in Europe & discussion has begun for plans on re-introduction in the UK.
"Back into the wild. Is it time for wolf pack's to roam the Highlands again?" - The Independent, September 2015
Latin Name: Martes Martes
The Pine Marten was hunted to extinct due to the fur trade around 200 years ago. They were successfully re-introduced into Scotland in 1997 and efforts continue across the UK today.
"Persecuted Pine Marten may make a return to England" - The Independent, September 2000
Latin Name: Sciurus Vulgaris
Importance: Forest Management
The Red Squirrel became severely threatened in the UK as a result of habitat loss & competition with the invasive Grey Squirrel. In 2010, the first successful reintroduction project began & efforts continue today.
"Red Squirrels to be reintroduced to England"- The Telegraph, June 2010
Latin Name: Felis Silvestris Grampia
The Scottish Wildcat is the last remaining wild cat in the UK. Habitat loss, competition & persecution have caused dramatic declines in numbers & fewer than 100 remain in the wild. Reintroduction plans have proven problematic, but efforts continue.
"Lottery funding for new efforts to save Scottish Wildcats" - The BBC, September 2013
Latin Name: Sus Scrofa
Importance: Soil & Forest Management
The wild boar were hunted to extinction in the UK by the end of the 16th Century. Reintroduction was not a planned event and has proved problematic. Strict licencing & management plans are in place for current projects.
"Here comes trouble: the return of the wild boar to Britain" - The Guardian, March 2012