A curtain of snow flurries blur the view down through the twisted trees. Vicious cold further contorts the clarity of the scene. But there we can see a Roebucks legs, broken and frozen, sticking in the air. Its antlers are just visible above the bank of ice-crusted heather and bilberry.
The nation waits. Nothing moves. On sofas and chairs, at kitchen sinks, and in bars across Britain, millions of people hold their breath for the first live view of a wild Lynx in the UK for more than 800 years.
Is this fantasy or could it be a natural history programme 2030? Well, in fact it could be 2020. The remote camera pans the grey form as it tracks towards its kill. It stops and lifts its head, showing us those curiously pointed ear tufts and a pair of sharp eyes squinting through the sleet. Yes, it’s a lynx! Wow! Can you imagine?
You wouldn’t need to imagine if you lived in Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany or France. A host of European countries have already successfully re-introduced this essential predator. So why no UK lynx? For me, it’s a noxious blend of ignorance, ludicrous antipathy and insidious vested interests. Oh, and an obvious lack of both courage and conviction by our timorous conservationists.
It’s so frustrating because we have the ability to reintroduce these amazing animals. Indeed, we have an arsenal of techniques and practices which we have researched, tried and tested. We could be implementing them all to make our backyard a better place for life. How long do we have to wait? How much more of our natural heritage needs to be destroyed before we accept that in plain terms conservation as we currently ply it … is simply not working?
I don’t need to repeat the all too accurate stats here. You know that our landscape is rapidly going to hell in a handcart. Just ask the lapwings, the butterflies, the wildcats, the meadows and the coral reefs if you can find them. Never has there been a greater need to re-think, re-appraise and react. Never has there been such a need to assemble a passionate, driven, caring collection of people to summon the conviction to stand up and actually get on with making a difference.
From my point of view, Rewilding Britain represents a real, brave, imaginative and intelligent solution to so many of our problems. I urge you to read, learn, consider, discuss and debate its aims and ambitions. I urge you to stop pretending it’s all going to be okay in the end, to stop waiting for a miracle and join us in this vision for a better wilder Britain. Now please…