The wild can be human work

‘Though goshawks are native to Britain, by the 19th century they’d been rendered extinct by habitat loss and persecution. In the 1960s and 1970s falconers started a quiet, unofficial scheme to bring them back. For the cost of importing a goshawk from the continent for falconry, you could bring in a second bird and release it. Buy one, set one free. It wasn’t hard with a bird as self-reliant and predatory as a gos. You just found a forest and opened the box. Some were released on purpose, some were simply lost. They survived, found each other and bred, secretly and successfully. Today their descendants number about 450 pairs. Elusive, spectacular, utterly at home, the fact of these British goshawks makes me happy. Their existence gives the lie to the thought that the wild is always something untouched by human hearts and hands. The wild can be human work.’

(Helen MacDonald, H is for Hawk)

 

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