This past week has been a very exciting one for UK conservation, with the news of the proposed return of the Eurasian Lynx Lynx lynx sweeping across a variety of social media platforms. However, with this high level of media attention comes a great deal of controversy and that is where you come in.
The Lynx UK Trust are at the forefront of this movement and have just launched a national survey to gather the opinions of people across the UK on Lynx reintroduction. The Lynx UK Trust has been formed by a group of experienced conservationists and scientists with specialisations in wild felines, genetics, field research, reintroductions and education that have worked on projects worldwide. The trust has identified three privately owned, unfenced estates in Norfolk, Aberdeenshire and Cumbria as ideal trial areas based on prey density and forest cover for the reintroduction of four to six individuals.
The trust needs to focus and understand the level of support and opposition of such a proposal. This is all part of a legal framework that structures potential reintroductions to ensure successful outcomes. It focuses not only on the interests of target species, but also takes into consideration concerns of the general public; to address this second point the trust has produced a series of representative surveys, which will give voice to a wide range of target audiences, collecting opinions from the general public, interested individuals, organisations and stakeholder groups.
This is a very big step for UK conservation and is important for as many people as possible to get involved and express their support and of course any concerns!
You can find the survey information by clicking here (once you have been redirected, scroll down to find the survey link).
The Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx)
- This highly elusive, forest-dwelling carnivore has been extinct in Britain for over 1,300 years, with habitat destruction and human persecution being the dominating driving their disappearance.
- Focused on hunting deer species and smaller prey such as rabbit and hare, the lynx is a legendarily elusive creature, known by ancient cultures around the world as a mysterious ‘Keeper of Secrets’ that rarely leaves the forest.
- This solitary and secretive nature means that they present no threat to humans and it is exceptionally rare for them to predate on agricultural animals. Their presence will return a vital natural function to our ecology helping control numbers of deer and a variety of agricultural pest species whilst protecting forestry from deer damage caused by overpopulation.
- Reintroductions into other European countries have been a remarkable success, with the best managed programs constructing whole new eco-friendly industries such as wildlife tourism around their presence, breathing new economic life into remote rural communities.
HOWL hopes you do take part and share the word so that the trust can gain as many opinions as possible and work towards making this ambitious, yet exciting, rewilding project a success!