Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Lynx reintroduction should not be a priority

12 July, 2016 - 09:14 -- John Burton
Lynx in Armenia

Today I received an invitation to participate in a public consultation on reintroducing lynx into Britain. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to become involved, but as I’ve said in a previous blog, I do not think this plan should be a conservation priority.

The loss of biodiversity continues throughout the British Isles at an alarming rate. And while it may be relatively easy to raise funds to reintroduce big charismatic species, this often does very little to conserve the huge numbers of lesser species that disappearing day by day.

It is often argued that there will be a knock on effect from re-establishing the larger species, and while this may be the case with the beaver, which does indeed increase biodiversity when it modifies the landscape, it is not true for all species.

To me the only possible benefit of the reintroduction of lynx is that it might exterminate feral cats, which fall within their normal range of prey. But how popular will that be with the owners of domestic moggies should the lynx stray near to human habitations (never that far away in most parts of the British Isles)?  The Lynx UK Trust claim that lynx will control muntjac numbers but, since they occur in areas of high human density,  human wildlife conflicts are bound to become a problem when lynx start predating pets and domestic fowl!

Wildlife conservation lacks adequate funding so why spend it on expensive projects that may or may not succeed, when there are so many existing species that need conserving?

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