Thursday 21st December 2017
Plans to reintroduce the lynx back into the British countryside have caused concern among some in the farming community following the deaths in November of several sheep that it has been claimed were killed by a lynx which had escaped from a local wildlife park. The animal was eventually shot following a three week search.
The benefits of reintroducing the animal, which was originally a native species to the UK but died out some 1,300 years ago, have been in discussion for sometime with a 5-year trial approved to release four female and two male lynxes into Northumberland’s Kielder Forest, situated just below the Scottish border, in the coming weeks. One of the key benefits to having the species back in the UK is to keep deer numbers down, which has been a problem in many rural areas of the country.
However, this recent development regarding the escaped Lynx has prompted concerns from some within the farming community regarding the safety of their livestock. The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) released a statement saying, “A number of our members’ livestock have been attacked and killed (by the escaped Lynx).”
They added: “Sheep have been found to make up more than one-third of wild lynx diets in Norway, alongside bigger herbivores such as roe deer, reindeer and even moose. If they really are as harmless as some people say, why aren’t we considering their release in heavily populated areas such as Surrey?”
The Lynx UK Trust’s response to such claims, stated on their website, is, “Lynx are known to occasionally take sheep from farmers, but all signs are that impact is minimal and can be easily compensated.”