Europe’s Wildlife Comeback Set to Captivate Global TV Audiences

Europe's Wildlife Comeback Set to Captivate Global TV Audiences
Europe's Wildlife Comeback Set to Captivate Global TV Audiences

Keystone Carpathian Species such as Bison, Lynx and Bear as well as the Wildlife in the Danube Delta to be Featured on the National Geographic Channel

Supporting wildlife comeback is a core element of the work at WWF Central and Eastern Europe and Rewilding Europe. The story of how wild animals are returning across Europe, spontaneously or with human help, will soon captivate millions of television viewers around the world. The new six-part documentary series called “Europe’s New Wild” will begin a global rollout in early September.

WWF and Rewilding Europe recognise the cricitally important ecological role of all wildlife species, regardless of their position in the food web. As a result of factors such as increased legal protection, reintroductions and other population support measures, habitat restoration, corridor creation and an ever greater acceptance of life alongside wild animals, we have seen many wildlife species make a welcome return across Europe over the last five decades.

Dramatic debut

As the first ever multi-episode portrayal of European rewilding, the series reveals the spectacular resurgence of nature across Europe’s most varied and breathtaking landscapes. Much of the footage was shot in Rewilding Europe’s operational areas where they are working closely with WWF and local communities to restore biodiversity. With a huge worldwide outreach, it aims to raise awareness of and support for European wildlife comeback and rewilding. It will be broadcast in more than 45 languages, reaching at least 140 million homes in more than 160 countries.

Europe’s New Wild has been several years in the making, so this is a really exciting moment for all involved,” says Rewilding Europe Managing Director Frans Schepers, who was one of the executive producers of the series. “Every episode tells a different story, but the series has a unifying theme – the return of magnificent European wildlife, wild nature and the positive impact of rewilding. I invite everyone to watch it.”

An inspirational introduction

European bison returning to the Southern Carpathians of Romania. Griffon vultures taking to the air in ever greater numbers in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria. Recovering Marsican brown bears patrolling the foothills of Italy’s Central Apennines. From the frozen landscapes of the Arctic to abundant river wetlands, from deep forest to rugged mountain peak, viewers of Europe’s New Wild will witness an astonishing array of wildlife returning and thriving, sometimes in the most unexpected places.

Opening people’s eyes

Many viewers of Europe’s New Wild will witness Europe’s wild side for the very first time. While the continent is renowned for its rich culture and bustling cities, most people do not realise how diverse and spectacular its nature, wildlife and landscapes really are. But more than this, the series also shows how resilient this nature is and how it can and will bounce back if we let it.

Above all, the series shows that rewilding can and is working as a progressive approach to conservation, and that we urgently need to scale it up,” says Schepers.

Boosting interest in the wild

We hope the series will be viewed as window towards a future we build together, because everyone is key to the success of rewilding; especially local communities and local governments. A future where man lives in harmony with nature and we both prosper,”, says Bianca Ștefănuț, Communications Specialist for the LIFE Bison rewilding project featured in the fisrt episode of the series.

Europe’s New Wild covers a diverse range of rewilding themes and locations. Here is a short synopsis of each episode:

Return of the Titans

In the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, the reintroduction of European bison is transforming the land and making Europe’s untamed heart even wilder. Bison bonasus, the largest land mammal in Europe, is a key species for preserving wilderness strongholds. The bison’s browsing ability in the search of food helps maintain a mosaic of forested areas and grasslands, a landscape which is highly valuable from for its biodiversity and natural resilience in the face of climate challenges. Moreover, the bison is a species that, if successfully re-introduced and its habitat actively preserved across the entire Carpathian Mountains, will help maintain ecological corridors on a large scale, allowing for species migration, be it the bison itself or other large carnivores such as the brown bear, the wolf or lynx. The European bison is one of the most threatened large mammals in the world, and it is protected at the European level.  WWF Central and Eastern Europe’s and Rewilding Europe’s  Life Bison Project aims to establish a wild bison population that is demographically and genetically viable, by reintroducing 100 individuals in south-western Romania, where one of the largest wilderness areas in Europe survives. The rewilding initiative is having a beneficial impact on the landscape and people.

The Missing Lynx

Embark on a journey to Spain and Portugal, where the challenge of rural depopulation is being transformed into an opportunity to recover wild nature. Lynx currently number around 9000 in Europe, of which 2300-2400 are found in the Carpathian Mountains. These promising numbers foster nature conservationists’ belief that the beautiful and shy felines will find their rightful place back to the heart of Europe’s forests.

Saving Europe’s Bears

Rewilding teams find ways for bears and people to live together, allowing the animals to recolonise some of Europe’s wildest locations. 8000 brown bears are estimated to be living in Central and Southeastern Europe.

Europe’s Amazon

An incredible range of wildlife finds sanctuary in the Danube Delta – Europe’s unrivalled wetland. The Danube Delta, an internationally protected UNESCO site, shelters over 5000 species of animals and plants, over 300 species of birds, most of them strictly protected, the largest pelican colony and Europe’s largest compact reed area.The Delta is also known for the underwater dinosaurs – sturgeon, the largest freshwater fish in the world. But decades of abuse, unsustainable exploitation of resources, has made the populations of freshwater species to be the most affected among all vertebrates, the decline being in this case 81%, more than double compared to  land and sea species.

The Scavengers Return

In Bulgaria and Greece, a battle is on to revive a broken food web. The restoration of natural processes is returning a wild harmony to the rugged Balkan landscape.

Land of Snow and Ice

Swedish Lapland, northern Europe’s unique wilderness, is home to the Sámi people, iconic wildlife and a time-honoured natural spectacle.

Want to know more?

Europe’s New Wild

* Subscribe to the special newsletter to hear about premiere dates in your country, and follow-ups to many of the rewilding stories and themes. Regular updates on the series will also be tweeted from now onwards with the hashtag #europesnewwild.

Europe’s New Wild is co-produced by Rewilding Europe, Off the Fence Productions and Bonne Pioche Television, and supported by WWF Netherlands, the Dutch Postcode Lottery and Canon Europe. The TV series will air on Nat Geo Wild, PBS, France 5, Redbull/Servus TV and SVT.