The miss­ing Lynx

A look at Bri­tain’s wildlife se­crets con­sid­ers the re­turn of a big cat…

TV Times - - Wild Summer Special - Sarah Sel­wood

While Matt, Liz and Steve are in Alaska, re­port­ing on its wildlife, zo­ol­o­gist Lucy Cooke and wildlife cam­era­man Colin Stafford-john­son are on home soil to re­veal how our own land­scape holds a host of se­crets in the daily com­pan­ion se­ries Wild UK.

Tell us a bit about the se­ries… Lucy: Each show con­cen­trates on a dif­fer­ent habi­tat – the first one is rivers and wa­ter­ways. I’ll be tak­ing a trip along the Stafford­shire and Worces­ter­shire Canal, and Colin’s vis­it­ing the River Wye to cel­e­brate the thriv­ing salmon pop­u­la­tion. Colin: We’ll also look at how the Wild Alaska crew achieve their footage. We of­ten for­get that some of the crea­tures that the se­ries will fea­ture, such as bears and wolves, were once part of our fauna.

There’s an in­trigu­ing seg­ment called ‘Long Lost Beasts’…

Lucy: These are an­i­mals that once in­hab­ited the UK. Some, such as beavers and wild boar, are re­turn­ing, and we look at an­i­mals that could

be re-in­tro­duced like the lynx. Colin: When­ever you men­tion the re­turn of a preda­tor, peo­ple get very anx­ious, but if we could bring back lynx, they are so se­cre­tive I don’t think any­one would no­tice their pres­ence. I’ve tried to find lynx on main­land Europe, but they are hard to spot and they leave lit­tle ev­i­dence of the fact they are there.

You also look at con­ser­va­tion projects in the UK. Tell us more… Colin: There are great ex­am­ples, like the red kite. Thirty years ago, there were only a few nests, but they’re a com­mon sight now. Pine martens are rare, too, but have the po­ten­tial to make a come­back. Lucy: I vis­ited a project on the Isle of Mull, which has brought the sea ea­gle back. It’s Bri­tain’s big­gest bird of prey and it was thrilling to see such a mag­nif­i­cent bird in ac­tion.

What was the most fas­ci­nat­ing fact you dis­cov­ered in the se­ries? Colin: Be­fore this show, I didn’t know kit­ti­wakes ex­isted. They’re a dainty gull, un­like her­ring gulls, their chip-steal­ing cousins.

Lucy: In one night, a pip­istrelle bat can eat 3,000 in­sects. A lot of peo­ple don’t like bats, but as some­one who was sav­aged by midges dur­ing film­ing, I say love them – they make life less itchy!

wild Uk is pre­viewed on pages 52-53

Wildlife se­crets: Colin and Lucy


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