Following the announcement by Lynx UK Trust that it has identified Kielder Forest as a suitable location for releasing lynx into the British countryside, the National Sheep Association (NSA) is stressing the need for the correct steps to be taken and any licence application to be fully and independently consulted on.
Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “We are dismayed that Lynx UK Trust is still pursuing plans to release lynx, as we do not share their belief that the UK has any suitable locations. We are too small an island and too densely populated.
“As Kielder Forest spans the border between England and Scotland, any licence application to release lynx there would have to be approved by both Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage. It would not be appropriate for any trial to go ahead without the express approval of both bodies, which could only happen after a full and independent consultation that goes over and above what Lynx UK claims to be doing to engage with stakeholders. Such consultation would reveal a wide range of very genuine concerns about introducing the lynx. These are not limited to sheep, but also the fragile balance of economics, environment and rural society, plus the welfare of the lynx themselves.”
Such concerns have been brought together by NSA into a report on The wider consequences of the introduction of Eurasian lynx to the UK. The report is available at www.nationalsheep.org.uk/policy-work.