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Good Reads  Conservation & Biodiversity  Rewilding

Restoring the Wild Sixty Years of Rewilding Our Skies, Woods and Waterways

Nature Writing
By: Roy Dennis(Author)
452 pages, b/w photos
Read our Q&A with Roy Dennis. A lifetime’s worth of stories from the front lines of conservation from a man who has been described as "the UK’s pre-eminent conservationist of the past half century" – including red kites, osprey, sea eagles, beavers and red squirrels.
Restoring the Wild
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  • Restoring the Wild ISBN: 9780008368821 Paperback Mar 2022 In stock
  • Restoring the Wild ISBN: 9780008368814 Hardback Apr 2021 Out of Print #249244
Selected version: £10.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Read our interview with Roy Dennis

The awe-inspiring white-tailed sea eagle was driven to extinction in Britain in Victorian times. Now this immense predator has returned to our skies, thanks to people like Roy Dennis, arguably the driving force behind the UK's reintroduction agenda.

Roy's early work on ospreys helped to restore the Scottish population and led to their reintroduction in England as well. He also spearheaded the reintroduction of the red kite to Scotland and England and worked on the Irish golden eagle project. Now, in what will surely be the seminal book on reintroductions, Roy details the painstaking process of returning these essential species to Britain. He explains the die-hard determination needed to reintroduce sea eagles to the Isle of Wight and the continuing fight to convince people of the benefits of beavers, to say nothing of lynx and wolves. Adjustments will be needed to accept sharing our countryside with large carnivores again, but Roy illustrates all that we have to gain by restoring our nature to balance.

From his first project to reintroduce sea eagles to Fair Isle in 1960s to the current work establishing them on the Isle of Wight including plans for the translocation of 12 more juveniles this summer, Restoring the Wild offers eye-opening insights into the complexities of reintroducing extinct animals to Britain. It also sets out the case for why this is essential for our island's continuing health.


Introduction   1

1. Serendipity: The Return of the Majestic Sea Eagle   9
2. Groundwork: Learning my Trade   65
3. Charisma: Red Kites Flying Free   115
4. Bureaucracy: Obstacles along the Road to Reintroduction   147
5. Rewilding: Bringing Home the Beaver   209
6. Risk-Taking: Large Mammals and Ecosystems   233
7. Gaeldom: Returning Eagles to Ireland   271
8. Global Vision: Restoring Ospreys in Europe   295
9. Endurance: Keeping Hopes Alive   333
10. Optimism: Reintroducing Sea Eagles to Suffolk and Europe   359
11. Legacy: New Projects with the Next Generation   391

Appendix: The Foundation and Other Organisations   429
Acknowledgements  431
Index   437

Customer Reviews (1)

  • An inspiring memoir of rewilding
    By Stephen 4 May 2022 Written for Paperback
    This is an inspiring memoir documenting the author's efforts to reintroduce keystone species to parts of Europe where they have been extirpated. Beginning with sea eagles and ospreys, he also recounts projects with peregrines and kites, storks, beavers and red squirrels. Throughout his career he has been ahead of the curve, championing rewilding long before it was fashionable. Indeed most of his projects faced opposition from farmers and vested interests as well as conservative conservationists, and nearly half of them seem to have failed due to bureaucratic barriers.

    The stories make good reading, although some of the details become rather repetitive at times. Ever optimistic, Roy has richly earned his MBE for services to British wildlife.
    1 of 1 found this helpful - Was this helpful to you? Yes No


Roy Dennis, MBE is a field ornithologist and wildlife consultant. He has worked in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland since 1959, most notably on the conservation of rare birds and the reintroduction of lost species, such as the white-tailed eagle and red kite. He is a specialist in raptor conservation and reintroductions in the UK and abroad, having been involved with osprey, red kite, golden eagle and sea eagle reintroduction projects, and his satellite tracking studies since 1999 have broken new ground and given great interest to the public via our map-based website. He has long been an advocate for restoring lost mammals to Scotland, particularly beaver and lynx. In 1992 he was awarded a MBE for services to nature conservation in Scotland and in 2004 was voted the RSPB Golden Eagle Award winner for the person who had done most for nature conservation in Scotland in the last 100 years. He is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster.

The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation is dedicated to wildlife conservation and research, with a special emphasis on species recovery projects and the restoration of natural ecosystems. 

Nature Writing
By: Roy Dennis(Author)
452 pages, b/w photos
Read our Q&A with Roy Dennis. A lifetime’s worth of stories from the front lines of conservation from a man who has been described as "the UK’s pre-eminent conservationist of the past half century" – including red kites, osprey, sea eagles, beavers and red squirrels.
Media reviews

"[...] Many will enjoy this book, but I would commend it, in particular, to those starting out on, or considering a career in, practical conservation. In a time when wildlife on our planet is in crisis and we reach for bigger concepts such as rewilding as we attempt to turn things around we need a new generation of conservationists with many of the qualities of Roy Dennis. This book contains the blueprint."
– Barry Gray, Ibis, May 2022

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