Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) has been forced to reassure members of the public it has no plans to release wolves at Knettishall Heath— following spoof reports.
A number of posters were put up at Knettishall Heath around April 1 indicating that the Trust, in partnership with the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, would be introducing a pack of wolves at the site by the end of the month.
The realistic-looking notices, which advised visitors to carry flare guns and not to enter the heath after dark, were removed as soon as they were seen by Knettishall’s ranger.
But after SWT received a number of messages from concerned people, and continuation of the coverage on spoof news sties, it moved to quell the rumours.
Sam Norris, Knettishall Ranger, said: “Knettishall Heath is an ancient place, which echoes with the past and Suffolk Wildlife Trust is delighted to be working with the community to restore it to the kind of wild landscape that our Bronze Age ancestors would have recognised.
“We hope this restoration, which includes the introduction of conservation grazing with Exmoor ponies to open out the heaths will see the return of such species as nightjar. However, I can categorically say that this definitely does not involve re-introducing wolves. Just to be clear, there are no plans to introduce wolves anywhere in Suffolk.”
Just to be clear, there are no plans to introduce wolves anywhere in SuffolkSam Norris, Knettishall Ranger
A spokesperson added although the heath was unsuitable for wolves — the site, which contains Exmoor ponies, is too small and too close to human populations — SWT is supportive of the “scientific principles” of rewilding.
Steve Aylward, Head of Property and Projects at the Trust, added: “If a species were to be picked as missing from the Breckland ecosystem at Knettishall Heath it would be rabbits, not wolves.
“We are currently working to encourage more rabbits to breed on the heath as their grazing patterns and digging create the perfect habitat for heathland specialists such as woodlark and green tiger beetle.”
For more on SWT, visit www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org