A banking model for a non-financial asset class: the European Wildlife Bank and the ancient Tauros


Context: More than half of Europe’s biodiversity exists in open mosaic landscapes that rely on natural grazing to maintain them. Where these grazers are absent, this biodiversity value is eroded by afforestation and accelerating agricultural land abandonment across the continent which means that this is an increasing threat. The European Wildlife Bank (EWB) is a pioneering tool that builds and ‘lends’ self-breeding herds of grazing wildlife species (wild horses, Tauros, European bison, deer species) for reintroduction into these natural landscapes. On maturity of the loan, part of the herd is returned to the bank plus ‘interest’ thereby growing the bank’s underlying ‘wildlife capital’ - the remaining animals are retained within the landscapes that the bank and its partners are working to repopulate. 

Our role: Building on models developed to repopulate rhino populations in Africa, as well as those established by the ARK foundation in Europe, Conservation Capital played an integral role alongside Rewilding Europe in designing the EWC and also issued a €50,000 collateralised loan via REC to purchase one of Europe’s last remaining and rare herds of Maremmana Primitiva (Tauros) on its behalf. The transaction secured an important biological asset whose growth and dispersal across relevant conservation areas in Europe plays directly to the heart of the EWB’s mission.

Outcomes: In the three years since its formation, the EWB has built up a herd of 765 animals comprising Tauros and wild horse species. All of these animals are currently deployed on 5-year loan contracts and the global herd is achieving a compound annual growth rate of 20-25%, more than enough to sustain and grow the ‘principal’ core bank herd while also providing significant new populations into its target conservation landscapes.