Many thanks to all of you who emailed me regarding the recent Natural World programme on BBC 2 that featured businessman Paul Lister’s plans to reintroduce wolves and bears etc to the Scottish Highlands.
Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to see the programme but from what many of you tell me it was something of a “hymn to Paul Lister”. Interesting enough one senior BBC producer telephoned me to say the programme makers had ridden roughshod over the BBC’s own producer guidelines, in that they didn’t give equal opportunities to the supporters of the plans and to those who opposed them. Indeed, from what I gather, only a couple of us got the chance to make a few comments.
Later on in the year the BBC are also broadcasting a 6-part series on Lister and his plans, so look out for that. From what I’m told there is a fairer treatment to those who oppose the electric fence scheme (Lister plans to keep the wolves, bears etc in an enormous fenced-in area of about 35-50,000 acres. The fence will be 3m tall, electrified, with no access points. Walkers, he says, should be prepared to make this small access sacrifice so he can charge people £50 a day for the privilege of a Land Rover tour).
It’s probably only fair to point out at this stage that I think Lister is doing some great work at Alladale. His woodland regeneration scheme is great; he is trying to keep deer numbers down and I congratulate him for all of that but if the reintroduction of wolves is dependent on him creating an enormous zoo to keep them enclosed then many of us will fight any fence proposals that come along. And I should also point out that no official planning proposal has been made yet regarding a fence. Be assured as soon as a planning proposal is made you’ll read about it on this website.
Meanwhile, if you can find the time this summer, visit Alladale and see for yourselves the kind of mountain landscapes Lister is suggesting walkers should be banned from. It includes the Corbett of Carn Ban and the approaches to that lovely Munro, Seana Braigh.