Making it real

Our  local partner organization is working hard on creating attractive ‘models’ of how a  rewilded site  could function here, using one core area –  the Faia Brava reserve (owned by ATN).

Land abandonment in the Faia Brava reserve and Rewilding Europe area, Portugal

Staffan Widstrand / Rewilding Europe


The approach includes purchasing important core areas, reintroducing missing species to bring back natural grazing systems, promoting the return of iconic and ecologically important species, and enhancing the conditions for the rabbit – a key element in the ecological systems of the Iberian Peninsula. For the natural grazing regimes, red deer, Iberian Ibex, primitive horses and cattle adapted to the local situation will be reintroduced. The Maronesa and Sayaguesa cattle breeds will serve as founder together with some other Mediterranean races in the TaurOs Programme, to breed-back an animal that as closely as possible resembles the original wild bovine species, the Aurochs. The breeding facility is based on the partnership between Rewilding Europe and the Taurus Foundation.

The region also boasts the largest open-air Palaeolithic art site in Europe, if not in the world, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The motifs of the earliest engravings (40,000–10,000 BC) are mostly ibex, wild horses, aurochs and red deer, which indicate the crucial importance of these animals in bringing back the natural heritage of the landscapes here.

Opportunities for creating new economic models based on wild nature will be tested in collaboration with land owners together with eco-tourism promotion, education and communications.