Rewilding and restoring nature is crucial in order to save our planet and according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) a territory the size of China would have to be restored over the next decade in order to tackle climate change. A landowner in Ireland is in the process of turning his estate into a nature preserve.
Randal Plunkett, the 21st Baron of Dunsany, one of the last surviving medieval baronies in Ireland, started turning his hereditary estate into a nature preserve eight years ago. Located in the east of Ireland, the property is developing into an oasis for different kinds of wildlife, all because Plunkett let wilderness return unmolested. Currently, the project is the only one in Ireland recognized by the European Rewilding Network.
Plunkett stopped mowing his lawns and moved the livestock away as an effort to turn the 750 acre big estate into a preserve teeming with life. According to the Baron, he secretly started this project eight years ago:
“When I started this it was a secret. For the first five years, nobody knew what I was doing. In fact, the locals thought I was a moron. They thought I was just decadent, destroying the land for no reason.”
Local animals and plants have thrived since Plunkett started his project. Pine martens, which is a rare species related to the weasel, have already been spotted on the Barons' property. Euronews writes that otters and red deers also thrive in the nature preserve. Other animals like buzzards, peregrine falcons, sparrow hawks, red kites, kestrels, and even woodpeckers also call the estate their home.
“Every year I’m getting at least one animal back. And it’s been wonderful because we’re bringing the wild back to Ireland, a place that used to be remembered for being green, and we’re bringing that bit of green back,” Plunkett says.