LYNX: Meeting did not allay fears

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I managed to elicit the place of the UK Lynx United meeting in Kielder from the Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

I didn’t hear anything said about who recommended the idea for Kielder Forest to be the place chosen for release of this predator after 1,400 years or why, which I found a pity.

There was a big point made of the release already having been achieved in Germany and Norway, but there seemed to be little understanding of agriculture in Northumberland.

Germany has low acreage farms – we would call them small holdings – and they don’t raise sheep, but pigs and poultry and a few dairy cattle.

Norway is much wilder than the borders of England and Scotland, with small acreage farms at the bottom of steep valleys, and high mountains over 6,000ft. The woodland is scrubby, used mainly for paper production.

The speakers did not seem to realise that Kielder Forest is a commercial forest, with close grown conifers. At present it is a very sterile environment due to lack of light on the floor and anything of interest is on the outer boundaries. Also, as I have discovered myself, it is very difficult to navigate and I actually got a little frightened trying to return out of it.

The exercise did nothing to alter my worries about the release of this animal, which initially I had thought might be interesting.

I recently saw a report on the red kite in Wales, where over 800 birds were milling around a tractor giving out food.

The locals said they were concerned as the birds were robbing food and might attack a child, but felt that authorities were refusing to look at the problem, as may happen when animals are listed for protection.

I would be interested in this idea if it was controlled.

I accept that any release in Britain of predators, be they wolves, beavers or lynx, the numbers must be thought about and there must be no question about man being the keeper and controlling that release, there being no nonsense about shooting any that are a problem.

The world is too small and I would hate us to lose the diversity, but now we have such a problem feeding our kind that man must play God here.

People have learnt lessons in Africa, where it has been successful to improve the numbers by controlling poaching and accept that some areas have to have controls.

This was also true of the tiger in some protected parts of India.

One has to control at what point one is going to set protection of nature and what one is trying to keep of our rich remaining diversity as nature does not stand still, but grows on like light-killing weeds if controls are not set.

It will be interesting to learn what happens now, but United Lynz UK must make proper contact with our wildlife organisation, both forestry commissions affected, the NFU, the county council and the parishes, as well as other groups.

Anne Wrangham,

Alnwick