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New nature organisation aims to 'rewild' Finland

A new NGO established in Finland advocates the introduction of species like European bison in an effort to 'rewild' the Nordic country.

Hevonen auringossa suu auki. Kuvassa näkyy lähinnä hevosen pää.
A wild horse in Hungary in 2016. Image: Zsolt Czegledi / EPA

A new nature NGO has been established in Finland as part of the international 'rewilding' movement, which aims to preserve and expand wilderness areas by reintroducing apex predators and protecting their habitats.

Rewilding Finland aims to join the Europe-wide organisation Rewilding Europe. In its first press release it suggests the introduction of European bison and wild horse species to Finland, claiming they would be present in Finland if human activity hadn't drastically reduced their populations.

Eurooppalainen biisoni puolalaisessa eläintarhassa.
A European bison in a Polish zoo. Image: Artur Reszko / EPA

"Industrial agriculture has impoverished our natural environment by eliminating these plant and animal species," Joni Valkila, a founder member of Rewilding Finland, told Yle. "We could repair the situation by reintroducing large mammals that belong in this environment."

The organisation's founders said that existing wildlife and nature organisations do important work, but a new association was necessary to focus on starting a discussion about improving the diversity of Finnish wildlife.

The European umbrella body Rewilding Europe describes its mission as making Europe a 'wilder place', adding that it recognises the 'crucially important' role of large carnivores such as bears.

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