The stats are sobering stuff (the UK’s State of Nature report
will keep you up at night). But species extinction is a sign of an even bigger problem: ecosystems that are failing largely due to our relationship with the environment.
“The biggest threat is ignorance,” says Martin Royle, director and guide at our partner Royle Safaris. “If people do not care and do not know and do not visit the wild areas and see the wildlife, then there is a very real chance the places will be replaced with farmland, housing developments or fisheries.”
The climate crisis warms our seas, threatens migratory routes with droughts and storms, and pushes animals to look further for food. Invasive species elbow out more vulnerable native species like red squirrels. Chemicals, sewage and plastics pollute rivers; in 2020, all of England’s rivers failed quality tests
In her book Wilding
, Isabella Tree calls England’s massive loss in bird species the “canary in the mine” – an alarm call warning of danger to life. But thankfully, there are people already listening and who have been inspired to start amazing projects to rewild Europe.
“Ecotourism has a proven track record,” says Martin, “whether it is the red kite reintroduction or the white-tailed eagles, tourism has been a boon for the local communities around these sites and the animals are now largely seen in a positive light despite being predators.”