News, Culture & Society

Dutch experiment to rewild marshland near Amsterdam sparks backlash

The ‘Dutch Serengeti’ where thousands of animals were able to roam in a bid to ‘rewild’ them has come under criticism after thousands of the creatures died after cold conditions.

Before the harsh winter this year, there were 5,230 animals living on the reserve, but after the brisk weather only 1,850 remain.

About 90 per cent of the creatures who died were killed before they could starve to death in Leylstad.

The ‘Dutch Serengeti’ where thousands of animals were able to roam in a bid to ‘rewild’ them has come under criticism

This week, a committee decided that the population could not grow unchecked, choosing to cap the amount of large herbivores at 1,500. 

Animal biologist Patrick van Veen slated the project to rewild animals: ‘This experiment has absolutely failed,’ reports The Guardian.

‘You’d expect 20 or 30% to die of natural causes including starvation each year but the population grows in summertime and there is no control mechanism – normally you’d have predators such as wolves but it’s too small an area to have predators.’

About 90 per cent of the creatures who died were killed before they could starve to death in Leylstad

About 90 per cent of the creatures who died were killed before they could starve to death in Leylstad

This week, a committee decided that the population could not grow unchecked, choosing to cap the amount of large herbivores at 1,500

This week, a committee decided that the population could not grow unchecked, choosing to cap the amount of large herbivores at 1,500

In Mr van Veen’s petition, he writes: ‘Massive starvation, malnutrition and hundreds of dying and crunching locked in animals is not a situation that you expect to happen in a modern civilized society and to be supported and legitimated by a government.

‘Unfortunately, this is currently happening in the Netherlands, due to a failed experiment, machismo and deceit.’

Other protesters have taken it upon themselves to feed the animals in a bid to save their lives – heaving bales of hay across railway lines to reach the creatures.

Animal biologist Patrick van Veen slated the project to rewild animals: 'This experiment has absolutely failed'

Animal biologist Patrick van Veen slated the project to rewild animals: ‘This experiment has absolutely failed’

One protester, Jamie Wiebes, said: ‘If you put up a fence, you have to take care of what’s behind the fence – you do in zoos, and even in prisons you have to provide child molesters with food and water. You cannot do a ‘project’ with animals. They are living things.’ 

However, some think that the animal deaths are just part of the process. Han Olff, an ecology professor, argues that the wildlife is changing and will adapt.

He said: ‘People tend to focus on what you lose and ignore what you gain. It’s just changing, it’s not better or worse, it’s just something different. Traditional conservation managers make a plan saying “This is what we want to keep – period”. This dynamic way of managing nature is new, it’s different but it’s not an experiment.’



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.