Our book review feature at the moment is George Monbiot’s Feral.

Monbiot had a related article in last week’s Guardian … “Let’s make Britain wild again and find ourselves in nature”

This offers a quick summary of the arguments, and begins in his characteristically engaging style:

When the robin was voted the UK’s national bird last month, we chose to celebrate half of a broken relationship.  The robin evolved to make use of wild boar, preying on the worms and insects exposed by their grubbing.  It is to the boar what the oxpecker is to the Cape buffalo. But boar are mostly absent from the UK, so the robin’s survival depends on finding the next best thing: human gardeners.  You and I are just fake pigs.

The article ends:

“In 2009, the rewilding pioneers Trees for Life released some wild boar into an enclosure at Dundreggan, in the Scottish Highlands. Within 20 minutes, robins came down from the trees and started following them. Their ecological memory was intact.  When I’ve accompanied children from deprived London boroughs to the woods and rock pools for the first time in their lives, I have seen something similar: an immediate, instinctive re-engagement, the restoration of a broken ecological relationship.  Once we have richer wild places to explore, we won’t need much prompting to discover their enchantments.”


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