A Conversation about Rewilding and Rebirding

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This event is part of our Subject/Object: The Birds festival. Buy a festival ticket for whole series here.

‘Crete, Malta and Sicily, were home to an assortment of miniature elephants, most of which died out around 11,000 years ago (about the time when humans arrive on the islands, predictably). The dwarf elephant of Cyprus was only a metre high at the shoulder; the island was also home to a tiny, sheep-sized hippo. Minorca, meanwhile, had a giant rabbit as big as a medium-sized dog.’ – Francis Gooding, writing in the LRB in 2020

Britain’s wild fens, swamps and mashes were once home to flourishing communities of white-tailed eagles, cranes and bustards, not to mention the world’s largest freshwater bird the Dalmatian pelican, which has a wingspan to rival the great albatrosses.

In his 2019 book Rebirding, Benedict Macdonald argued that in the intervening period we have gardened these isles to death, or nearly, and highlighted the rewilding projects that might be our only way out of this state of terminal decline. He will be in conversation with Francis Gooding, who has written unforgettable pieces about the distant past and our uncertain future for the LRB, and special guests from the worlds of conservation and literature.

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