Missing species & rewilding


The species listed below have been lost from the Caledonian Forest in historic times, due to human exploitation and habitat destruction. With 99% of the original forest having been destroyed, many other species of plants, insects and fungi may also have been lost.

​Key missing species:

  • European beaver (Castor fiber)
  • Wild boar (Sus scrofa)
  • Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx)
  • Wolf (Canis lupus)
  • Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus)
  • Elk or moose (Alces alces)
  • Brown bear (Ursus arctos)
  • Aurochs or wild ox (Bos primigenius


Trees for Life advocates the reintroduction of our missing wildlife in due course, as they each play an essential role in the ecosystem, and there will never be a healthy self-sustaining forest in the Highlands until all the constituent species, especially the large mammals, are restored.


Restoring Missing Species

We are currently publishing a series of articles in our members' magazine, Caledonia Wild!, about restoring missing species. These discuss the challenges of reintroducing species that haven't been present for many years, sometimes centuries, and give details of conservation techniques to increase populations of rare species and to restore those that have been lost.



Return of the Wild - by Roy Dennis

Rewilding - by Alan Watson Featherstone​

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