By Bill Heaney
The Lynx UK Trust is getting all excited about “a major step forward” in their mission to reintroduce the Eurasian lynx to the UK via the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.
They are, however, on the receiving end of some vocal opposition from Save Loch Lomond, the campaigning group which won its high profile battle to keep Flamingoland out of Balloch.
“We can finally announce that the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park has been selected as the first lynx reintroduction site in our ambitious plans to reintroduce the Eurasian lynx to Scotland,” a statement from the Lynx Trust said on Wednesday.
It added: “Over the past year, we have been carrying out an extensive ecological feasibility study in collaboration with the University of Lancaster, assessing habitat suitability for lynx across the whole of Scotland.
“The conclusions show that vast tracts of the Scottish countryside are suitable for lynx and could support well over 250 individuals.
“In addition, last year a series of preliminary consultation events were held in Scotland at various potential release sites.
“The data from all this ecological and sociological work highlights the Queen Elizabeth Forest park as an excellent site for the first reintroduction.
“Earlier this year, we met with senior officials at SNH to discuss it’s plans for returning Lynx to Scotland.”
The Trust has plans to ask the public what they think of the idea – “To commence the public consultation, we will be holding the first public event on the 9th September in Scotland (for further details on this, please head to https://lynxuk.org/events).
“If permission is given, three Eurasian lynx (one male and two females) will be reintroduced in the Queen Elizabeth Forest park for a five year period.
“They will wear state of the art satellite collars to monitor their movements.
“The cats will come from healthy wild populations in Europe and be subject to full veterinary screening.
“The lynx will be intently studied over a five year period amassing information that will hopefully inform plans for a wider reintroduction at multiple sites across Scotland.”
Audrey Arnot told social media: “I don’t think this is a good idea either. Must be part of the re-wilding plan to kick us out of national park land.”
But Karen Clayton told her: “I think not, people live in USA with bears, wolves and coyotes.”
Gary McKinney said: “I got the impression it was because they eat deer and deer need culled, apparently. Also they were indigenous to Scotland until they were hunted to the point of there being nil, just for their fur.”
Kirsten Easdale said Gary McKinney’s opinion was invalid since he didn’t live in the National Park area and was from Glasgow.
Gary was fit for her though. He said: “Well, you got mine [my opinion] too, and you would have even if I still lived in California, never mind Glasgow.
Glen Fruin – where sheep may safely graze … but for how much longer?
Picture by Bill Heaney
“Freedom of speech and all that [No one has let him know about West Dunbartonshire Council clamping down on free speech though. It’s becoming as hard to speak out on Bellsmyre and Bonhill as it is in Belarus. Ed].
“Not that it should make the blindest bit of a difference, but I’m from the Loch Lomond area originally and I’m currently staying back here, so don’t be rude.”
At least Gary got an apology.
However, the disagreement will help to stoke up a febrile atmosphere first public event on the 9th September in Scotland (for further details on this, please head to https://lynxuk.org/events)
Aliciã Fraser-Rumsby said: “I live in and studied the ecology around the park as part of my degree. What Gary is saying is correct. Some of the reasons are to regulate deer numbers in a natural way as well as reintroduce a species which is only not here because of human hunting. … “
Andrew Yeoman opined: “The national park has no rabbits, very little hares and can barely support a single pair of golden eagles on available prey.
“Lynx are not capable of taking adult red deer, which leaves you with a small population of roe deer and you guessed it sheep and lambs.
“Let’s see how long they last once farmers’ lambs start disappearing.
“I like the idea of re-wilding but Scotland hasn’t got enough wild space for large predators like wolves, bears and lynx anymore. Try saving our wildcats first before introducing another predator.”
Isabel Melville said: “I don’t live in the park but I live in rural west Scotland and I think all our opinions matter.
“These are wild creatures and were eradicated from Scotland for a reason.
“They will not be caged or hemmed in, they will escape and become a risk to all of Us.”
Kay Paterson agreed: “I think it’s a huge potential problem for farmers in the area at a time when they have plenty of existing problems to deal with.
“Having said that, would be good if their presence deterred the idiots wild campers we are being plagued with right now.”
Margaret Pittam said: “I think we need to know a lot more about the lynx before any decisions are made and what are the possible negative affects of introducing this animal here.”
* This sounds like a story that has legs. It will run and run long after the September meeting. Editor.