Good progress was made in promotion for Rewilding Europe as a new initiative, to several of the main target audiences. Social media, an AV-show trailer and printed materials were developed. Following the initial publishing of the major GEO cover story “Europa Wird Wilder[1]” in Germany, a further 11 special country editions published the story in 2012. Feature articles were published in leading newspapers all over Europe and in 'The New Yorker'. Swedish, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese national TV reported from the initiative and the first activities in the rewilding areas. Major outreach was created through the outdoor exhibitions in European capitals of which the one in Madrid reached around 104 million people through mass media coverage in the Spanish-speaking world. As a result of this, “rewilding'' is now a widely understood phrase used more and more in all various contexts and translated into several languages.

A communication training was organized in the Netherlands in spring 2012, which was attended by all the local rewilding teams. At that level great achievements have been made, especially in Western Iberia, Velebit and the Eastern Carpathians, with the local teams trying out several different methods that range from opinion surveys, magazine publishing, film making, local fairs, local stakeholder meetings as well as meetings with ministers and serious media PR work around the outdoor exhibitions.

Professional photo assignments have been carried out in the five first rewilding areas, including documentations of the first animal releases done in Western Iberia and Southern Carpathians. This means that there is now a good stock of high quality imagery available from these areas that is widely used for all kinds of communication and promotion. The quality of the image resources and the way this footage is used are a significant part of what makes the initiative stand out from the crowd.

The development of tangible local visions for each rewilding area was given a high priority. Part of that focus led to the start of the production of artist's impressions of the envisioned future landscapes, one for each area.

Enterprise Development

The enterprise development work has made good progress in preparing fertile ground for the development of businesses, both at the central level and the rewilding area level (with a focus on Western Iberia and Velebit).

The enterprise team has worked to develop a rewilding business-financing instrument called Rewilding Europe Capital (REC), a revolving financing facility funded by philanthropic capital and owned by Rewilding Europe. REC's initial goal is to provide small, but often crucially important loans to promising businesses in the rewilding areas (starting 2013) that can generate meaningful rewilding outputs. Furthermore a business proposal has been developed for a European Safari Company. In cooperation with experienced travel organizations, this company will develop a network of seasonal camps, supported by wildlife hides, fly camps, and a range of nature and wildlife based guided activities.

Development of relevant businesses goes hand in hand with the rewilding work (see Chap. 10). In both Western Iberia and Velebit extensive explorations were done to identify existing and potential businesses that could potentially leverage rewilding outputs (directly and indirectly). This work produced a list of more than 40 potential businesses and business ideas to support and help develop. A shortlist of the most promising and meaningful businesses was selected to engage further, including tourism lodges, adventure trails, tented camps, tourism operators and relevant hunting operators.

  • [1] “Europe is wild” in German.
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