Kielder Lynx Trial..

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  • Kielder Lynx Trial..
  • Premier Icon Drac
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    hodgynd
    Member

    Hey Drac ..you are only the second “local ” person I know of in favour of it after myself ..

    My extended family disown me as they are sheep / cattle  farmers in the area and are totally opposed ..

    Premier Icon piha
    Subscriber

    I believe it would be truly wonderful to re-introduce these animals back into the wild places of Britain. However, if the local farming community are hostile to the Lynx returning then I fear for any Lynx returned to the wild. I hope Lynx UK Trust get their license with some level of support from the NSA.

    I would like to see the Wolf re-introduced too. Britain probably would benefit from a large predator.

    ElShalimo
    Member

    If they are hard-wired to prey on deer what makes the farmers so convinced they’ll eat sheep?

    hodgynd
    Member

    My thoughts too…and there is a vast over-population of deer at Kielder / under population of gamekeepers to keep on top of the job ..

    notlocal
    Member

    Cooool.

    Spent a day with Grandson notlocal at the Highland Wildlife Park, near Kingussie (recommended). The “Lynx cat” was his favourite, closely followed by the Highland wildcat.

    Their Beaver population has been returned to the wild according to the literature, but it would be good to see Elk reintroduced too.

    I think I watched a programme, or read something, that stated a return of Beaver to an area had helped to regenerate the wetlands that in turn led to increased growth along the river bank. Overall, the increase in foliage was responsible for the return of Salmon/Insects/small birds/deer/bear and wolf to the area.

    Nico
    Member

    If they are hard-wired to prey on deer what makes the farmers so convinced they’ll eat sheep?

    If they were “hard-wired”, indeed. But they aren’t, of course.

    From wikipedia (I know, I know, but this is grown-up territory):

    “Where common, roe deer appear to be the preferred prey species for the lynx. … Even where roe deer are quite uncommon, the deer are still quantitatively the favored prey species, though in summer smaller prey and occasional domestic sheep are eaten more regularly.”

    So I guess, given two options, one where there are no animals that might eat sheep and one where there are, and farmers being brutal insensitive morons who don’t like change and do like money, they are voting for the obvious.

    Anyway if wolves are re-introduced they’ll eat all the lynxes. And don’t get me started on Siberian tigers (which I’d like to see introduced).

    cchris2lou
    Member

    Lots of issues with wolves eating sheep in south of France.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I’ve heard a lot of farmers go on about being custodians of the countryside.  This is clearly bollocks. as they are responsible for devastating most of it.  After all, it’s not meant to look like it does.  However they do this to keep us alive, which is a good thing.

    So we need to compromise.  Things like losing a small amount of food productivity for a large increase in wildlife sustainability – this is already recognised in places where they let field edges grow, or they farm organically, let flowers grow in hay meadows etc.  I don’t see a difference here – lose a few sheep (and get compensated for it) in return for a big improvement in the natural environment.

    Any farmers care to comment?  Welshfarmer?

    On another topic, if there are so many deer in Kielder, why not adopt the same approach as the US state of Wisconsin and let humans pay to keep the deer down, instead of having to pay humans.  The humans engage in an outdoor activity, they get lots of cheap meat, the environment gets managed and the state makes a lot of money.  Win all round.

    Premier Icon dissonance
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    let humans pay to keep the deer down, instead of the other way round.

    Wisconsin pay deer to keep humans down?

    If they were “hard-wired”, indeed. But they aren’t, of course.

    They are hard-wired to prefer certain areas. So for example Lynx get very bad press due to Norway where farmers are more likely to let their sheep into wooded areas at which point the Lynx think its meal time. The generous subsidies  when sheep are “killed” by Lynx may also add to the high numbers reported especially with the limited checks.

    tjagain
    Member

    When I looked into this before there were major gaping holes in the plans the biggest being they had no way of compensating farmers for the loss of sheep.  Lots of hot air about how visitor numbers to the area would increase and this would generate money that would be used to compensate farmers, no actual concrete proposals.  Suggestions like ” farmers would need to get guard llamas”  “compensation would be paid” with no actual proposals for how this would happen don’t cut  it when the losses to individual farmers are likely to be thousands a year and perhaps more importantly year on year knock on effects in breeding programmes

    I am in favour of reintroductions but doing it with predators requires robust methods to compensate farmers for the inevitable livestock kills and most importantly the farmers need to be on board otherwise they Lynx will simply be shot.

    Pigface
    Member

    After Brexit there won’t be any hill sheep farmers left.

    oldmanmtb
    Member

    They could farm Lynx and we could all have cheap organic ” puddy tat” for Sunday lunch.

    hodgynd
    Member

    Further news…

    Everything we know about lynx being brought back to Northumberland

    https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/everything-know-lynx-being-brought-15021432

    Shared from my Google feed

    mogrim
    Member

    The population of Spanish lynx is up to about 600 now (from below 100 at the turn of the century) and I’m not aware of any major problems to sheep farming – and Spanish farmers are no less vocal than their English counterparts. There have been some attacks, but it’s not a serious issue.

    The return of the wolf is a bit more problematic, however!

    trademark
    Member

    I enjoy the prospect of cycling through Kielder thinking that I could be passing a hidden lynx.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    I am all for this – I know of a couple of Scottish spots that are being ‘prepared’ (very subtly) for Lynx here. For me they pose minimal conflict with landowners, other than the deer over population lot. And I personally think we should shoot over half the deer in Scotland anyway…

    I think that the wild boar, lynx and sea eagle are minimal conflict, maximum tourist and ecological value species.

    I think wolves are a step too far – too much fear and will lead to conflict, that cannot end well.

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Subscriber

    I enjoy the prospect of cycling through Kielder thinking that I could be passing a hidden lynx.

    I was talking to a leopard conservationist in Capetown years ago, and asked him how widespread they are. He waved his hand at the scrubby hillside above us and suggested that there were probably one or two keeping an eye on us already.

    More worryingly, I ran the Safaricom marathon a while later. There were armed rangers supposedly keeping an eye out for big game, but miles of track where I didn’t see anybody at all, just monkeys, giraffes, and probably didn’t see the leopards watching me..

    I guess lynx are the same – other than camera traps and the rare sighting nobody will be any wiser to their existence.

    Nico
    Member

    https://www.naturetrek.co.uk/tours/spain-realm-of-the-iberian-lynx

    Bit like mountain biking then. Sheep are generally worth less than £100 whereas if you farm tourists … kerchiingg.

    If you want to see how this type of thing works look at the agencies involved in the re-introduction of Beaver Trials in Scotland. Until English National Heritage back this up along with a “credible” organisation it is just hot air.

    tjagain
    Member

    Beavers are not preadators

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    The Osprey are doing pretty well in Kielder.

    mogrim
    Member

    Beavers are not preadators

    Tell that to the trees 🙁

    It’s got little to do with the type of species. It’s got to do with the process of making it legal and it being adopted back into the definition of a “native species”. Until the Govt, through ENH and another reputable conservation body are fully engaged, this is all hot air, from the entity, the Lynx Trust UK. In Scotland the RZSS and SNH led the successful trials of reintroduced beavers and ultimately the acceptance of them as native again. It was a very long and difficult process.

    DickBarton
    Member

    Doable, but not easy and the results can be very good –

    Lynx are also the main predator for beaver in many environments… Which would be quite handy in Tayside at the moment, as there are enough beaver around the place, furiously munching riverside trees and multiplying to be able to set the lynx up nicely.

    In the Highlands, there are not many sheep that could command a price of £100 and there are way too many of them anyway.  I’d be very happy to see their numbers reduce in the wilder areas, with roe deer and beaver returning instead and kept healthy be watching their back all the time.  There are few lynx that grow large enough to tackle an adult ewe and even fewer that would seriously trouble a wild goat. A healthy adult roe is also generally too large and fast as well; it’s more youngsters, the old, the  sick and the injured that lynx will sweep up.  Which is why having a predator around helps improve the quality of  the prey species.

    I’m all for re-wilding of large areas of the Highlands, where I’d be overjoyed to know that lynx survive as top predator and driven grouse is recognised as an appallingly wasteful mistake from history.

    Premier Icon oldtennisshoes
    Subscriber

    In Scotland the RZSS and SNH led the successful trials of reintroduced beavers and ultimately the acceptance of them as native again. It was a very long and difficult process.

    Hardly! The Knapdale trial provided little if any useful information to sanction their widespread introduction. SNH and Scottish Government’s hands were tied by public pressure once the widespread extent of the Alyth originated releases was promoted in the press. A beaver cull could never have been sanctioned and so there was little option.

    SNH has lost its way further in the past couple of years thanks to its new chairman. Raven cull anyone? 🤔

    Hardly! The Knapdale trial provided little if any useful information to sanction their widespread introduction.

    but they were the two organisations who provided the Scotgov with what they needed for the Beaver to be readopted. – My point is simply, at this time Lynx UK Trust are very far from being accredited with the level of influence or capacity to get a trial started, nevermind adopting a species no longer recognised as native. Having the ambition is laudable but you need the scientific and political back up to be successful.

    Premier Icon somafunk
    Subscriber

    I used to work with Caracal Lynx at a wildlife park (25yrs ago) in a breeding program and they gave me the fear every time i had to go into their woodland enclosure, we always went in with 3 folk, two as spotters and one doing the work as they are practically impossible to see in thick undergrowth and they liked to stalk us. They can move silently through scrub and have a turn of speed that is just a blur to the eye,  i would welcome them being released into wild areas but you’d you’d never ever see them (unless there was a designated feeding area).  Our male weighed 16kg and could clear 10ft vertical from a standing start and would often pluck birds as they flew overhead – very impressive creatures.

    I’ll try and hunt out a few pics.

    tjagain
    Member

    On sheep farmers.  I know some sheep farmers in the highlands – they run small flocks of rare breed sheep.  Losing a breeding ewe  or a few lambs would not only be a big financial loss to them but also wreck the breeding programme – their breeding ewes are worth a fair amount I would have thought.  Experience from areas with lynx is that they do take sheep regularly.

    I have nothing against reintroduction but it needs to be done properly with well thought out ways of keeping the local farmers onside and robust ways of compensating them for losses.  When the lynx trust come up with this then I will support them – until then its simply not possible or plausible

    I followed a big online debate between these folk I know and other farmers with the lynx trust.  the lynx trust simply had no answers to any of the objections of the farmers.  No answer to how compensation would be paid, no answer to how they would monitor or track the lynx, simply wishful thinking not practical at all.

    hodgynd
    Member

    I haven’t followed things as closely as yourself TJ ..but with regard to monitoring & tracking the six Lynx at Kielder it’s been proposed that radio collars are fitted …

    When I went to to Highland wildlife park the conservation officer was heavily against Lynx being reintroduced

    She said it would mean the end of the Scottish wildcat as they would compete for territory and prey, and as the Lynx is bigger it would win

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    I’ve just checked my map, yup Kielder is still in Northumberland.

    Premier Icon dissonance
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    Experience from areas with lynx is that they do take sheep regularly.

    Dont suppose you can provide that evidence. Since the evidence in Europe doesnt support this claim. Norway is the exception but then they have a different approach to keeping sheep which results in them being in woodland a lot more.

    There is also evidence that Lynx would predate foxes so given how much foxes also get blamed I would have thought would get the farmers onside.

     keeping the local farmers onside and robust ways of compensating them for losses

    Farmers are already compensated by the taxpayer. Although admittedly we would need robust methods for compensation to avoid it becoming another nice subsidy. The question is whether the benefits to the country as a whole, by controlling deer, outweigh a small special interest group especially when the evidence for their claims is weak.

    That said I am not convinced the Lynx Trust are the best people for the job.

    If anyone local to Newcastle is interested, there’s a talk on this tonight at Newcastle Uni:

    Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

    Join Dr Paul O’Donoghue from Lynx Trust UK as he talks about the project to re-introduce the once native Eurasian Lynx to the British Isles.

    So I went to the talk on Friday – very interesting, and very popular. I turned up bang on time and had to sit in a second room where they live-streamed the audio since the lecture theatre was full (not sure how many it holds, would guess at least a couple of hundred).

    I haven’t followed this thread closely and I’m not very informed on debate beyond the obvious arguments (farmers vs. conservationists) but will summarise the talk in case anyone’s interested.

    One of the things that immediately surprised me is how small lynx actually are: about 70cm shoulder height, about the size of a “skinny labrador” (more on that later).

    The speaker was, of course, massively and passionately pro-reintroduction. He presented some pretty strong arguments in favour, which (he says) are backed up by peer-reviewed scientific research (there being some quite big caveats: he’s obviously picked the research that agrees with his point of view, I haven’t read any of the papers he cited, and the peer-review system isn’t the be all and end all).

    I did feel he was rather dismissive of some of the counter-arguments, almost to the point of being arrogant in making anything anti-reintroduction to be completely bonkers.

    His main argument that Kielder, with it’s huge area, very low (human) population density and massive over-population of deer, is a perfect place to re-introduce lynx seems valid. He spent a lot of time making the economic case (ref. “eco-tourism”), and drew parallels with a scheme in the Harz mountains in Germany. Some calculations based on data from the scheme showed the lynx brought in some tens of millions of pounds of tourism revenue – his brief summary how they’d come to that seemed a little exaggerated to me, but the pictures he showed of all the lynx branding in the town of Bad Harzburg (think the Lynx Cafe, the Lynx Hotel, etc. etc.) made the point pretty well.

    On the subject of lynx taking sheep, he was keen to point out that Lloyds of London have offered (off their own backs by the sounds of it) to underwrite insurance to provide compensation (I think at twice the market rate? might have made that up) at a cost the the trust of a few hundred quid a year. He used that to illustrate how low the risk is estimated to be by a company who are world leaders in estimating risk and making money out of that, which seems fair. Apparently the rate of sheep taken is 0.4 sheep per lynx per year (not sure if that’s an SI unit!) but I can’t remember where that figure came from (seems like it would be very situation depended). The lynx will be GPS tracked, and the location information used to weed out fraudulent claims.

    I was looking forward to some robust debate in the Q&A at the end but sadly it didn’t really happen. A few people asked some slightly tricky questions which he had answers for but which weren’t probed too deeply by the questioners. One older-sounding guy, who may have been a farmer, was trying to make more of an argument but a) the audio recording didn’t really pick his voice up very well, b) he was obviously quite angry and that wasn’t helping him, c) he picked up on the “skinny labrador” comparison and started talking about how many sheep a labrador could kill in 10 minutes, when the comparison was obviously just about size and nothing else, so just made himself look a bit stupid, and d) he rather got shut down as the last speaker. Disappointing lack of pitchforks.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Interesting cheers Northwind.

    hodgynd
    Member

    Nice feedback ..many thanks .

    After hearing this ..what were your own thoughts ?

    Would you be in favour of a trial introduction ?

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