News Article

What went right: bison poised for UK comeback, plus other good news stories

Posted 17th July 2020 • Written by •

A project to reintroduce bison to England was launched, the UK’s culture sector was thrown a lifeline and rare gorillas were spotted for the first time with babies, plus other stories of progress

UK culture was given a £1.5bn lifeline

The UK government announced a £1.57bn rescue package for the country’s beleaguered cultural sector this week to help theatres, museums, music venues and galleries stay afloat during the coronavirus crisis.

The package went beyond what many people in the sector had expected and was broadly welcomed by the industry, though it remains to be seen how the funds can be accessed and which venues are likely to benefit. The money has come too late for some theatres and music venues, however. Venues including Nuffield Southampton Theatres have already closed for good due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  

“We are very pleased and relieved to hear news of the government’s support package and investment in the arts and culture sector during this critical time,” said Catherine Mallyon, executive director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Read more here.

Bison to be reintroduced in England

They haven’t roamed the country for thousands of years, but bison are poised to return to English woodland as part of a £1m rewilding project in Blean Woods, Kent.

A herd of European bison will be in their new home by spring 2022, say conservationists. The breed is the closest living relative to the ancient steppe bison and is attributed with engineering woodland habitats for butterflies, beetles and other species by felling trees and disrupting earth.  

The bison will be introduced to a 500-hectare (1,200 acre) area in Blean Woods, along with other grazing animals such as Konik ponies. The project is being led by the Kent Wildlife Trust and funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund.  

“This award means we can now take an important step towards reversing the terrifying rate of species loss in the UK,” said Paul Hadaway, director of conservation at Kent Wildlife Trust. “Using missing keystone species like bison to restore natural processes to habitats is the key to creating bio-abundance in our landscape.”

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