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Super-herds of large herbivores, birds of prey, apex carnivores and ecosystem engineers like Eurasian beaver and wild boar would once have driven the ecosystems of temperate-zone Europe. Their influence on the evolution of our fauna and flora in Britain has long been overlooked but now, thanks to rewilding, scientists and conservationists are beginning to look again at the importance of these creatures in creating habitat, restoring soils and water systems, and generating biodiversity.

Many of these keystone species are extinct today. Some species that survive in Europe today in reduced populations were hunted to extinction in Britain many centuries ago.

Join our guide to discuss Ice Age megafauna and how cattle, ponies and pigs can act as proxies in our rewilding project for their extinct ancestors the European wild horse, aurochs and wild boar. How has our vegetation evolved around big grazing and browsing mammals and what efforts are being made across Europe to reintroduce and even back-breed animals to replace those we have lost?

This safari will explore questions such as what species made it back into Britain after the last Ice Age and why does this matter? Would bison and elk be good candidates for reintroduction? Could we ever see wolves back in UK? What about lynx, wild cat and wolverines? We cannot go back in time, but can we use our knowledge of past ecosystems to help restore biodiversity in the present day as we face the catastrophic Sixth Extinction?

This safari will begin with a hot drink, organic chocolate brownies, and a short presentation about the Knepp rewilding project, and the importance of megafauna in rewilding and ecosystem recovery. This will be followed by a 2.5 hour walking safari in search of Knepp’s free roaming herbivores, as well as looking for signs of their impact on the landscape.

This safari is led by Rina Quinlan who has been guiding at Knepp for five years and helps manage the free-roaming Exmoor pony herd at Knepp. Rina also advises on large herbivore ecology at rewilding projects throughout the UK.

This is a walking safari, at a gentle pace, with frequent stops for discussion and wildlife watching. You will need a moderate level of fitness and be able to cope with walking on uneven ground.

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Unfortunately we cannot offer a refund or alternative date for your safari booking. We also cannot guarantee the great British weather, or that you will see your target species. Nature is unpredictable! However we’re confident you’ll enjoy your experience with us, come rain or shine, and there’s always plenty of wildlife to see. Our safaris are suitable only for children of 12 and over.