At Citizen Zoo, we believe in five principles that underpin how to rewild:
1. Taking inspiration from landscapes of the past to inform how to rewild to restore ecosystem functionality.
Habitats of the past and the species that existed within them are our greatest source of inspiration for determining what is possible. Therefore, we need to utilise this information to make management decisions to restore those ecosystems. Furthermore, where appropriate, we should look to reintroduce lost species to reinstate ecosystem functionality.
2. A belief in the resilience of the natural world – by providing the right conditions, no matter what the scale, nature can bounce back.
Micromanagement of habitats with limited species in mind will not solve our ecological problems. By providing the right conditions, whether it be freeing up our rivers from concrete culverts and weirs or reintroducing locally extinct species (or safe analogues), nature will do the rest.
3. No space is too small to contribute to a functioning ecosystem.
If rewilding is to be successful, and more broadly, wildlife conservation, we must think on a holistic scale where no space is off the table. From our windowsills and lamp posts, through to nature reserves and national parks. Everything and everywhere can play its part.
4. Our urban areas must be considered as a microcosm of what we want to achieve in the wider landscape.
Just as rewilding was born out of the three C’s and now focuses largely on Cores, Connectivity and Co-existence, similarly our cities must be considered in much the same way. From our roads, pavements, and buildings to windowsills, gardens and parks. We must start bolstering wildlife in these spaces, increase connectivity and learn to live with the wildlife on our doorstep. However, as human constructs with limited space and the highest densities of people, Urban Rewilding will inevitably stray from the core roots of rewilding.
5. Rewilding people is just as important as rewilding places.
Across the world, we have lost our connection to nature. Humans are the primary drivers behind the sixth mass extinction and climate catastrophe we are seeing before our eyes. The only way to solve these issues is through a positive connection between people and nature. This can inform behavioural changes and a co-existence of humans and wildlife that benefit biodiversity.