Lynx pro­posed for Kielder

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

Landown­ers are treat­ing with cau­tion news that the Lynx UK Trust has opened a con­sul­ta­tion on a pro­posed re­lease of the wild cats around Kielder in northum­ber­land. The char­ity in­tends to ap­ply for a li­cence this year to rein­tro­duce lynx for a five-year trial pe­riod and will host an in­for­mal ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion in the area on au­gust 11 (visit www.lynxuk.org for de­tails). Lynx were hunted to ex­tinc­tion in Bri­tain by about the 8th cen­tury, but are still com­mon in the huge forests of north­ern europe, where sheep farm­ers warn of the dam­age they can do. Much is made of the an­i­mals’ po­ten­tial value to tourism, but lynx are shy, noc­tur­nal crea­tures. They could aid in re­duc­ing the munt­jac pop­u­la­tion, but would pre­date ground-nest­ing birds and lambs.

The CLA is ask­ing to see an exit strat­egy. ‘If we use fig­ures from nor­way, then a UK pop­u­la­tion of 400 lynx could re­sult in the pre­da­tion of up to 4,000 sheep each year, re­quir­ing com­pen­sa­tion to farm­ers of up to £560,000 per year,’ points out di­rec­tor of pol­icy Christo­pher Price. ‘with no in­di­ca­tion that the UK gov­ern­ment would fund any com­pen­sa­tion scheme, the Lynx Trust must demon­strate it has the fi­nan­cial ca­pac­ity to meet this cost in per­pe­tu­ity.’

The na­tional sheep as­so­ci­a­tion has ex­pressed dis­may. ‘we do not share their [the trust’s] be­lief that the UK has any suit­able lo­ca­tions. we’re too small an is­land and too densely pop­u­lated,’ says chief ex­ec­u­tive Phil stocker.

The project would re­quire a li­cence from scot­tish nat­u­ral her­itage and nat­u­ral eng­land, which has pre­vi­ously in­di­cated that the one granted for the rein­tro­duc­tion of beavers in devon was a one-off.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.