THERE is a lively debate going on in Scotland about restoring the country's extinct mammals. It is the same argument as surrounded the sea eagle, red kite or capercaillie.
The candidate species are the boar, bear, bison, musk ox, moose, beaver, wolverine, lynx, walrus and, perhaps most challenging, the wolf. |
Yet the argument seems to me to omit one large element - the business potential to be derived from these creatures' restoration to the Scottish hills.
We banned fox hunting at the behest of Lord Watson of Invergowrie but I see a lucrative potential in boar hunting. In France this is a sizeable and profitable market. La Chasse is a combination of hunting, sporting and hospitality in the forests of France. It could be so again in Scotland.
The wild boar that have either escaped from farms or been released by enthusiasts will breed into menacing numbers rapidly. They need to be hunted to contain their numbers. They make great sausages. Humans are their only predators.
Scotland's rural economy is fragile. It is also too dependent on subsidies.
As the EU restricts these fountains of cash, a post-sheep landscape will re-establish itself - birch, ash, elder, rowan, junip