Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Introducing the Lynx in Suffolk

20 May, 2016 - 14:21 -- John Burton
Eurasian Lynx

There are proposals to introduce Eurasian Lynx into England. 

This is justified as a reintroduction as once upon a time, hundreds of years ago, lynx existed in England. But then, so did rhinos, elephants and cave lions. England now does not remotely resemble the England when lynx inhabited, nor does the fauna of England. The introduction plans in Scotland have more potential due to the Highlands habitat. The Highlands have a larger forest range and an overpopulation of Red Deer, which would fall into the lynx’s diet.

I imagine there will be a huge outcry when the public find out that their pet cats are within the prey range of lynx. In other parts of Europe this is not a problem, as lynx generally exist in areas where there are no domestic cats, but in England it will be a different matter.

However, my primary objection to introducing lynx is not out of concern for Fluffy and Tibbles. It will cost several hundred thousand pounds at least, and that money could be far better spent on conserving some of the hundreds of other (less glamorous) species that are in serious decline. Fortunately, for equally valid reasons, the Director of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Julian Roughton, seems to share my concerns about the suitability of Thetford Forest as an introduction site.

It is high time that conservationists moved away from the concept that we need ‘charismatic species’ to further conservation. We don’t. We need land, more land, and even more land. That way we can conserve whole ecosystems. Sir David Attenborough and many other high profile supporters of World Land Trust have endorsed this approach, and this applies at the local (Suffolk) level as much as at the international scale we are working at.

Comments

Submitted by Robert Burton on

As a low profile supporter, I agree with Sir David and others. Spend the money on preserving what we still have rather than on rather iffy reintroductions.

Submitted by Cassandra Lishman on

Yes I totally agree with that. It's too much money to spend reintroducing a species that will probably cause more angst than good. Reintroduce species where there is space and a definite ecological niche to fill...and deer to eat!

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