The lynx ef­fect

With pro­pos­als put for­ward to rein­tro­duce the Eurasian lynx to the UK, Liam Stokes looks at the im­pact they would have on our coun­try­side

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Kielder For­est in Northum­ber­land is the pro­posed launch pad for the UK rein­tro­duc­tion of the Eurasian lynx, a species last seen in this coun­try 1,400 years ago. Bat­tle lines have been drawn over whether this is a good idea or not, and it gets pretty heated.

One side claims that 90 per cent of local res­i­dents sup­port the rein­tro­duc­tion, while the other claims 90 per cent of res­i­dents op­pose it. That’s quite a big sam­pling er­ror. In a re­port on this ap­par­ent dis­crep­ancy, the Guardian at­tempted to in­ter­view lo­cals in Fe­bru­ary of this year, only to find that many weren’t will­ing to pub­licly nail their colours to the mast for fear of of­fend­ing friends and fam­ily on the other side.

The na­tional de­bate is sim­i­larly po­larised, which is prob­a­bly due at least in part to the way in which

38 • SHOOT­ING TIMES & COUN­TRY MAG­A­ZINE the is­sue is re­ported. My favourite piece of wildly hy­per­bolic re­port­ing, in the Daily Ex­press, de­scribed the pro­posed rein­tro­duc­tion as, “Plans to let blood­thirsty wild lynx the size of small lions lurk, ready to pounce…”

But what if it did hap­pen? How would we man­age the pop­u­la­tion? This isn’t as daft a ques­tion as it sounds. The 14 lynx in­tro­duced into Ger­many in 2000 have now pro­duced a pop­u­la­tion of around 100, so there

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