No escaping the lynx reintroduction debate

Lynx ReintroductionBy Holly Howe, Communications Assistant

Rewilding is something of a buzzword in terms of conservation, as across the UK organisations and individuals are restoring habitat to its natural state or reintroducing species of wild animals, birds and fish.

One ongoing project is the Lynx UK Trust’s proposed trial reintroduction of the eurasian lynx in the UK. An informal consultation was launched last year, and the GWCT were amongst the stakeholders asked to provide feedback. The Lynx UK Trust is now reaching out to stakeholders who responded to the consultation, to discuss their feedback.

We have entered into the debate, which is undoubtedly polarising opinion with passionate arguments being heard for both sides. The arguments in favour of reintroduction have varied, from providing local ecological benefits to increasing tourism.

However, the GWCT is generally cautious about the proposal and we feel the trial must be done properly and in accordance with the IUCN’s ‘Guidelines for Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations’We would want to further explore the potential effects on existing conservation projects; the conservation of other species; and on existing land use, which often directly and indirectly supports habitat and species conservation.

Our attendance at various game fairs and events this summer is providing an opportunity for visitors to ‘Have their say’. Such a controversial issue has certainly been a draw to our stand, with a majority of visitors’ opinion being against reintroduction. In contrast, the poll on our website has seen a slight lean in favour. Feedback from the game fairs has also shown a number of people willing to consider the idea if it was managed properly.

Anyone who would like to cast their vote is invited to visit our stand at The Game Fair at Ragley Hall on 29-31 July. Those planning to visit the UK Game Fair at Stoneleigh Park, which is now cancelled, can use their tickets to attend The Game Fair.

In the last 24 hours we have seen the story about the escaped lynx from a zoo in Devon being covered in the national news and there is no doubt that the proposed reintroduction of this wild cat and the issues surrounding it will continue to make headlines.

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