The missing Lynx
A look at Britain’s wildlife secrets considers the return of a big cat…
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
NEW WILDLIFE Wild UK MON-FRI / BBC1 / 9.15Am