Recovering urban wildlife isn’t just about protecting a city’s parks and rivers, but also making its streets, homes and skyscrapers greener.
Wild boars roaming Italian towns. Goats on the streets of Wales. Egyptian geese wandering free at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. When humans retreated from busy streets during Covid-19 lockdowns, the wildlife emerged, bringing into sharp focus what conservationists have been saying for decades: In order to repair the environmental damage that we’ve caused, it’s imperative that we allow natural processes to restore damaged landscapes.
In many parts of the world, it’s beginning to. In the United Kingdom, a country that has lost almost half of its biodiversity since the 1970s, rewilding — the term used to describe the process by which parts of land or water are returned to a wild state — has entered the national lexicon.
Until now rewilding, which is by its very nature a large-scale effort, has been concentrated in the countryside and rural areas. More recently, however, there have been a number of projects and local movements pushing for more urban rewilding and at a smaller scale.