World’s first code on reintroducing wildlife

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Scotland’s Environment Minister, Berwickshire’s Paul Wheelhouse, launched a ground-breaking code for animal and plant reintroductions at the Scottish Game Fair at Scone last week.

The Ayton-based politician said: “The guidelines are a world first, setting out the types of situation in which translocations may benefit wildlife, people and the environment, enabling thorough and transparent evaluation on a case-by-case basis.

“Local and national reintroductions can help wildlife become more resilient, as well as help us to combat the effects of climate change and habitat loss.

“In the past few years we’ve seen this with well-known species like beavers and sea eagles, as well as lower profile reintroductions like the woolly willow and pine hoverfly.

The code covers how to identify benefits and risks, permits and licences, how to evaluate the impact on other species, habitats and people, who to consult, and what follow-up assessment is required. It covers plant, animal and fungal reintroductions and translocations, moving a species from one area to another and releasing it for conservation purposes.

Ian Ross, SNH’s chairman, said: “We want to make assessing and planning a plant or animal reintroduction as straightforward and clear as possible. Moving a native plant from one area of Scotland to another may be quite simple, but an application involving a predator like lynx will be quite complicated. The code will be helpful in both these cases.”