CANA Foundation has recently announced that Wouter Helmer, co-founder of Rewilding Europe, has joined their Science Advisory Board. This news was picked up by several outlets, including MarketWatch, Markets Insider, yahoo!finance and New York’s citybizlist.
In his personal capacity, Helmer will be advising the organization on rewilding in the United States based on his 30 years of experience with rewilding projects in Europe. Helmer’s alignment with CANA comes just as a documentary produced for Rewilding Europe focused on the resurgence of nature across Europe debuts on PBS.
Rewilding is a form of environmental conservation and ecological restoration with species that were native to an area. Rewilding Europe aims to make Europe a wilder place, with more space for unmanaged nature, wildlife and natural processes. In addition to spearheading these rewilding projects that better allow people and nature to co-exist and flourish, Helmer also serves as Program Manager of GRAZELIFE, a project at the request of the European Commission to make recommendations for effective grazing systems related to climate adaptation, biodiversity and other ecosystem services, especially for large herbivores like horses.
“We are honored to have Wouter Helmer join our Science Advisory Board and share best practices with our organization, which is at the forefront of rewilding initiatives in the United States, as we work to save our wild horses through rewilding,” said Manda Kalimian, founder of the CANA Foundation. “We look forward to working with Wouter to educate the public about these important issues, including through the Europe’s New Wild series on PBS.”
Europe’s New Wild focuses on real world rewilding projects, like the once endangered European bison, which have been reintroduced to the Southern Carpathians and are now thriving. The series explores diverse locations from the Arctic Circle to rich river wetlands. Produced for National Geographic, WWF and France 5, it is premiering on Wednesdays, February 3-24 from 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET on PBS, pbs.org and the PBS Video app.
“Large herbivores, like horses and bison, help facilitate species resurgence and also to alleviate forest fires, issues we face in the United States that are ever more pressing due to climate change,” said Dr. Ross MacPhee, CANA’s scientific advisor and senior curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. “The science stands behind rewilding and we look forward to gaining further knowledge and collateral from our European friends and collaborators for making a case for more projects like this in the United States.”
Using both fossils and modern genomic methods, MacPhee and his colleagues are conducting studies to prove that all modern horses, whether domestic or wild, have a common ancestry that originated in North America during the Ice Age. CANA is funding a variety of research initiatives devoted to understanding the horse’s place in nature, as well as leading webinars and educational programs with former Congressman Steve Israel’s Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University. Other esteemed members of the CANA team include former United States Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael Connor, Executive Director Erin King Sweeney, and paleogeneticist Hendrik Poinar from McMaster University in Canada.
Learn more about the CANA team.