Updated: Feb 4
There is often a long debate on whether animals that are extincted in the wild should be reintroduced. Well, as there are recent talks to whether the Lynx should be introduced into the UK I thought I would weigh in. The primary concerns with reintroducing the Lynx are the effects it might have on other animals and on the local environment. However, on the other hand there is huge debate about the large cat being part of British heritage and our history, so therefore should be reintroduced. Here, I look at what the Lynx is, why it became extincted in the UK, why it is potentially being reintroduced and the objections to this.
So, what is a Lynx?
The Lynx is four species of medium-sized wild cats, which includes the bobcat. The name “Lynx” originated in Middle England via Latin. The cat is a carnivorous mammal that is between 22-44lb, approximately 1.2 meters in length and is a solitary animal. One, of the notable features of the Lynx is the tufts of hair on top of its ears that helps to improve their hearing.
What is being introduced?
There are current talks to reintroduce 6 Eurasian Lynx (4 female, 2 male) from Sweden to the UK, as part of the reintroduction projects for predators. The plan is to introduce the Lynxes to the Kielder Forest in Northumberland, which has 250 square miles covered by forest. Each Lynx will be fitted with a GPS collar and introduce over a 5-year trial.
Why did they become extinct?
There are debates to the actual reason why they went extinct in the UK but the two main reasons are; hunting and habitat loss, both of course being caused by humans (so it is our fault). They have been absent from the UK for over 1,000 years but do remain in many European countries. After recent reforestation in Northern UK, it is believed the environment created will be able to sustain the wild cats.
What are the main concerns?
There a number of concerns with introducing the feral cats into Northern England. This is mainly from sheep associations and the farming community. Additionally, there are debates about the current wildlife and the affect it might have on them, as well as the money spent on the introduction of these wild cats that could be used to help the current wildlife. The main concern for the current wildlife is with the deer population but this is countered by the fact that the Lynx’s will help to control the rise in their population benefitting the wild. Additionally, although the local residence are excited about the prospect of the Lynx being introduced they are concerned over the safety for themselves and their pets. Finally, it is still unclear whether the area and wildlife will be enough to support them.
What do I think?
Personally, I think it would be great to see such an amazing creature once part of our heritage brought back to the wild. I believe prior to the full introduction of these animals there needs to be proper studies to understand the problems that may arise and if these can be mitigated or be counted as beneficial. This is mainly the effects to the current, possibly endangered wildlife in the areas they are planned to be introduced. Having said this, I believe we have a duty to rehabilitate the wild cat, due to it extinction being caused by us (humans). Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts and input on it, so message me on social media or in the comments below. Do you think the UK should reintroduce the Eurasian Lynx? Do you think the Kielder Forest can sustain the 6 wild cats? Do you think the surrounding wildlife will be adversely affected?