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This forum has come about from a passing comment in a roe deer observation.
Roe deer bones dating from before the last ice age have been found in England, but they were extinct in Wales and probably in England by the early 19th Century due to over hunting. They just clung on in the highlands of Scotland. All the roe deer you see in England and Wales are decendents of animals released in the late 19th Century.
Therefore, if the roe deer we see today are decended from continental individuals can the species truely be considered native. I'm not going to say my thoughts one way or the other yet, however, some other examples:
Red kite, some of the introduced red kites in England and Scotland are from Wales and so could be considered from native stock, but these were suplimented with birds from continental Europe.
Capercaillie, a bird known to have been in Britain since at least the last ice age, 12,000 years. It went extinct in the early 19th Century. There have been three attempts to re-introduce it, two failed and the latest has lasted around 100 years, is it a native species? A similar story for the white-tailed sea eagle.
Conversely, fallow deer introduced around 400 years ago; rabbits 1,000 years ago; brown hares, two thousand years ago; house mouse around 3,000 years ago... when does a species become native?
Finally, the eagle owl. There is evidence that there were eagle owls in Britain at least as far back as around 5,000 years ago. It is said that beacuse we only have such evidence from human habitations then the eagle owl was not wild but the remains were of tame birds brought by human migrants.
I have greatly rounded off dates here as I'm just trying to make some points. If you want to correct my chronology with exact dates or other examples then please feel free to do so.