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
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