How it started
The Rewilding Foundation was established in 2009 as the Anatolian Leopard Foundation, to initially investigate the survival of the Anatolian leopard subspecies (Panthera pardus ssp. saxicolor) in the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey. This legendary cat and the biggest of leopards, full of prowess and ferocity, was revered in Classical times, but also heavily persecuted throughout the ages. Its mainstay was the cradle of modern civilization, nowadays the fusion between modern Christian Europe and the Islamic East. The Anatolian leopard is an inspiring symbol for wildness as well as ancient culture and art. Moreover, it reminds us of the survival of a species throughout a violent history and into the birth of the modern age.
What we currently envisage
Unfortunately the Anatolian leopard may be extinct, and today many other large natural space needing carnivores face the same predicament. Situated atop the food chain and as drivers of the process of top-down-regulation, large carnivores are now scientifically recognized as playing a vital role in the maintenance and development of landscape and ecological diversity. They may even provide important benefits to mankind that outweigh the negative impacts (e.g. livestock predation) of these animals. The Rewilding Foundation therefore endeavours to support and create initiatives aimed at safeguarding or restoring large natural ‘wilderness’ areas with large carnivores as key components World-wide, harmonized with the needs of people with solutions for ecological sustainability.
Despite many odds there are plenty of opportunities to halt or reverse the negative ecological trends, driven largely by out-of-control economic globalization, exorbitant capitalism and poverty (Tragedy of the Commons). Perhaps the greatest challenge for mankind today is to effectively and integratively safeguard and restore Spaceship Earth’s biological and landscape diversity; reversing our current course. The natural world with all its complexity and wonders is crucial for our well-being and that of future generations: our children and theirs. We have to exert more effort with more people and means! Effective conservation of trophic cascades in large healthy ecosystems with large carnivores at the apex is a strong indicator for a healthy biosphere and the attainment for mankind’s wise stewardship of our planet with a new ecological paradigm.
Our evolution and destiny was partly shaped by large mammalian carnivores, now we owe them a continuation of their evolution and the organisms that depend on them. Achieving the effective conservation of large carnivores, herbivores and other keystone species as umbrella species for landscape and biological diversity would again be one giant leap forward for mankind!
What we aim to achieve:
Is to develop and support initiatives targeted at effective conservation or restoration of large-scale and interconnected ecosystems sufficient enough to durably sustain populations of large mammalian carnivores as ecological key-stone organisms, on the basis of ecologically sustainable development and reconciliation with human prosperity. Connecting people to (re)connect with nature!
In this effort the foundation is an active advocate for the principle of ‘rewilding’ (Restore, Rewild, Reconnect) and safeguarding of trophic cascades and healthy ecosystems, as founded by the Wildlands Network with conservation biology as its firm scientific basis. This website serves concurrently as a cross-pollinating resource for this noble goal, cross-linking it with other vital foundations, and mainstreaming it in society. Rewilding requires a multidimensional approach in reconnecting people with nature. To this end we provide an integral or holistic road map with the aid of underpinning, complementary or cross-cutting objectives (including ecological sustainability) and founding principles (for instance the science of landscape ecology and the philosophy of deep ecology and social ecology): for a better future for mankind attuned with nature, not against it! Read more on rewilding