Species reintroductions

Lynx (Bernard Landgraf)Reintroductions are an increasingly popular part of species conservation programmes. In an attempt to impose some order into what could become chaos, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) devised a set of guidelines in 1995. We endorse these guidelines and will assess all reintroduction proposals, whether introduced in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK, against them.

Reintroductions are always lengthy, complex and expensive, but broadly follow a process of:

  • Feasibility
  • Appropriateness
  • Provenance
  • Socio-economic aspects
  • Releasing

These components are described in more detail here.

Within Scotland, reintroductions such as sea eagles have taken place and continue to be pursued, most recently with regard to beavers. We have a seat on the SNH-led National Species Reintroduction Forum, where our particular focus is on ensuring that the right processes are followed and that these are evidence-led before any reintroductions proceed.

We are concerned that unilateral and unlicensed releases, such as have occurred with beavers, can lead to a situation where consultations on reintroduction deal with how to live with change, not whether the change is sensible in the first place. Although no formal application has been made for reintroduction of lynx or other species to Scotland at present, we continue to monitor developments and will engage with any proposals as soon as they come forward.

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