‘There are no plans to introduce wolves anywhere in Suffolk’ - Suffolk Wildlife Trust reassures public after spoof posters at Knettishall Heath

Wolves are not being released into Knettishall Heath. Picture: PA: Mazzini/PA Wire

Wolves are not being released into Knettishall Heath. Picture: PA: Mazzini/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Suffolk Wildlife Trust has had to reassure people that they have no plans to release wolves onto one of its reserves.

The spoof signs which say wolves will be released at Knettishall Heath. Picture: Suffolk Wildlife Tr

The spoof signs which say wolves will be released at Knettishall Heath. Picture: Suffolk Wildlife Trust - Credit: Archant

A number of spoof posters were put up at Knettishall heath around April 1, which state the organisation, in partnership with the UK Wolf Conservation Trust, would be introducing a pack of wolves at the site, near Thetford, at 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.

However, following a number of concerned messages sent to the trust after coverage of the story on spoof news sites, the trust wanted to reassure people the information is not true.

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.

Part of Knettishall Heath, a Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve. Picture: Steve Aylward

Part of Knettishall Heath, a Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve. Picture: Steve Aylward - Credit: Archant


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'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.

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'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.'

Exmoor ponies on Knettishall Heath. Picture: Archant Library

Exmoor ponies on Knettishall Heath. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Gregg Brown

Suffolk Wildlife Trust have said Knettishall Heath would not be a suitable place to re-introduce what was one of the UK's biggest predators, because the site is too small, too close to human populations and would also prove unpopular with the Exmoor ponies.

The organisation is supportive of the scientific principles of rewilding and encouraging nature to flourish and working to restore degraded wild places in the appropriate way.

The Trust has been involved in re-introductions in the past, including the release of 34 captive-bred dormice in Bradfield Woods in 2006.

Steve Aylward, head of property and projects at the trust, said: '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.'

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