Return of the lynx discussed in parliament

REINTRODUCING lynx to Scotland is being discussed at the Scottish Parliament today.

Ariane Burgess, a Green MSP for the Highlands and islands, has sponsored a reception that was organised by conservation charities Scotland: The Big Picture, Trees for Life, and The Lifescape Project.

Today’s reception follows a debate last Thursday, during which a motion by Kenneth Gibson – Scottish National Party MSP for Cunninghame North – was discussed.

Conservationists suggest lynx could help to reduce roe deer numbers, which in turn would benefit tree growth.

Pete Cairn, executive director of Scotland: The Big Picture, said: “It’s good news that politicians and policy makers are now seriously discussing the return of lynx, which would have strong public support.

“Scotland is one of the poorest places on Earth for nature, and if we are serious about tackling the nature and climate emergencies, these conversations really matter.”

Steve Micklewright, chief executive at Trees for Life, added: “Scotland could become the world’s first rewilding nation, but is still one of Europe’s only countries lacking large predators.

“The support or acceptance of the land management community for a well-considered, carefully managed lynx reintroduction would help deliver on commitments to restore 30% of nature by 2030.”

The National Farmers’ Union of Scotland (NFUS) has expressed concerns about the potential impact of lynx on livestock.

An NFUS spokesman told the BBC: “The past few years have seen a long line of brazen and presumptuous claims from organisations about the imminent reintroduction of predators to the UK.

“The only application to date, to reintroduce lynx to Kielder in the North of England, was rejected.”

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s wildlife pages.

Plus, don’t miss Andy Dobson’s article about wildcats in the May issue of Scottish Field magazine.