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UK Lynx Reintroduction

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UK Lynx Reintroduction

Post  whitestarling on Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:33 am

First steps taken in lynx reintroduction into the UK

news/Lynx-by-Erwin-van-Maanen
Could the lynx once again become part of the UK landscape? © Erwin van Maanen

The Lynx UK Trust has announced a public consultation as a final stage in its preparations to formally request reintroduction licences for the lynx to be brought back to England and Scotland.

The lynx was wiped out by hunting and habitat loss around 500AD, but is now seen as a valuable missing link in the UK's ecology, providing a natural control for species such as deer.

Dr Paul O’Donoghue, Chief Scientific Advisor for Lynx UK Trust says, “People have talked about the reintroduction of lynx for the past 20 years but no tangible progress has been made.

“Over the last year we've brought together an incredibly experienced team of international experts which puts us in a unique position to take this exciting project forward.”

Three sites have been chosen as ideal trial-release locations, two in England and one in Scotland, after close consultations with the landowners.

Tony Marmont, owner of Grumack Forest, one of the potential release sites, comments, “Lynx will have an extremely beneficial effect on our forest ecosystems, both directly and as ambassadors for wider conservation projects.

“I also believe we should try to reintroduce an animal that humans made extinct here.”

Consultation has begun and will seek to gauge public opinion whilst highlighting any specific concerns which will then be researched and addressed during the trial.

If the licence applications are successful, the trial will see the first lynx released onto privately owned land to be monitored 24 hours a day to see how they adapt and settle into the environment.

This data will then be used to decide whether a UK wide reintroduction should be progressed.

Lynx have been successfully reintroduced across numerous sites in Europe bringing a range of benefits such as improved conservation of forestry, improved balance of biodiversity, reductions in pest species and numerous economic opportunities for remote rural communities which have carefully developed eco-tourism around the presence of the cats.

“We're confident that we can achieve exactly the same thing here in the UK,” says O'Donoghue. “Forests around these islands struggle against an over-abundance of deer, which is a classic problem to emerge when you lack apex predators.

“Wildcats and foxes can't possibly control deer numbers, but lynx really can, and the economic possibilities for rural communities are incredible.”

Responding to questions from farmers and other owners of livestock, such as sheep, O'Donoghue states: “As a very dedicated forest animal, lynx will rarely come across agricultural animals; predation on them has been rare in Europe. We will be putting a full subsidy programme in place to reassure farmers anywhere near the reintroduction sites.”

In the coming months the University of Cumbria will carry out the consultation on behalf of Lynx UK Trust, speaking to the general public, landowners and other stakeholders to gauge levels of support for, or opposition to, the project.

Dr Ian Convery, who will lead the consultation with Dr Billy Sinclair, says, “We are very excited about our involvement in this lynx reintroduction project.

“There has been a great deal of interest and discussion in the UK concerning reintroductions over recent years, and it is hugely inspiring to see words translating into action.

“There is compelling evidence that carnivore reintroductions benefit both the ecosystem and the economy; we expect the proposed lynx reintroduction in the UK will do likewise.”

The initial public survey is available to all residents of the UK to fill out online via www.lynxuk.org


WS

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Re: UK Lynx Reintroduction

Post  Laikipia on Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:11 am

Mmmmm I read something about that yesterday. Controversial indeed but for me a huge YES.

Thanks WS.

Lai
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Re: UK Lynx Reintroduction

Post  whitestarling on Tue Apr 28, 2015 12:21 pm


British public vote in favour of lynx reintroduction
news/2010_jan/Eurasian_Lynx
The majority of the British public would like to see the lynx back in the British countryside a survey carried out by the Lynx UK Trust shows.
More than 9,000 people took part in the survey, with 91% supporting a trial reintroduction and 84% believing it should begin within the next 12 months.

Almost seven weeks ago the Lynx UK Trust, a team of international wildlife and conservation experts, announced their hopes to carry out a trial reintroduction of Eurasian lynx to the UK. Wiped out in the UK over 1,300 years ago by fur hunters, lynx have been successfully reintroduced across Europe, and the team hope that reintroduction here will provide a valuable natural control on the UK's overpopulated deer species, leading to forest regeneration and a boost to the entire ecosystem.

“We've been blown away by the level of interest and support from the public.” comments chief scientific advisor to the project, Dr Paul O'Donoghue, “This is by far the biggest survey of its kind ever carried out in the UK, with almost five times the feedback of the original beaver reintroduction survey in Scotland which recorded an 86% approval rating. That led to government approval for the trial reintroduction, so we're expecting to see a consistent response from Scottish Natural Heritage and hope for similar in England and Wales. The UK public have spoken; people overwhelmingly want these animals to be given the chance to come back and we've got an extremely capable team to deliver it.

“Lynx have proven themselves across Europe to be absolutely harmless to humans and of very little threat to livestock, whilst bringing huge benefit to rural economies and the natural ecology, including species like capercaillie which face some serious problems in the UK. It's wonderful that the general public want to see lynx given the chance to do the same here.”
Encouragingly, over half of the people who filled in the survey were from rural communities, returning a level of support only 5-6% lower than urban communities, showing that this project has considerable support from people who live and work in the UK countryside.
Applications to Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage are expected to be completed by summer for sites in Norfolk, Cumbria, Northumberland and Aberdeenshire, with the Trust still evaluating potential release sites in Wales. Up to six lynx would be released at each site and closely monitored via satellite collars over a trial period likely to last for 3-5 years.

WS




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Re: UK Lynx Reintroduction

Post  Laikipia on Fri May 01, 2015 10:45 am

WS. So let's hope the we aren't now sending these lynx to their death. I would imagine the farmers are against this and will suggest they are killing their livestock and they will end up being culled. Perhaps I am being rather too critical!

Thanks WS.

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Re: UK Lynx Reintroduction

Post  Safariman on Wed May 06, 2015 11:08 am

Interesting news WS, although whether it will actually happen is another matter. There always seems to be too many vested interests against genuine wildlife in the country.
I agree with Lai that it is fraught with problems. As a nation we are happy to tell other countries how to conserve there wildlife however when it comes to this country we become very blinkered. I am sure the thought of having "big cats" (the tiny lynx) roaming the countryside and killing everything it finds will have the media up in arms.
I await the outcome with interest!!

SM
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Re: UK Lynx Reintroduction

Post  whitestarling on Thu May 07, 2015 12:16 pm

I agree with you both, especially about this countries blinkered outlook to this sort of thing SM. It would be great if it happened, but I feel there will be a lot against the idea, and it may well get blocked in the end. because there will be a lot of
Not In my Backyard

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