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Re-Lynx in Scotland? It is complicated


Female European lynx pictured in Norway. Credit: Peter Cairns/North Shots

New research shows that plans to reintroduce the lynx in Scotland raise a complex range of opinions.

Lynx died out in Britain more than 1,000 years ago, but some conservation groups argue that the species can help restore natural ecosystems. A new study, conducted by researchers from the Vincent Wildlife Trust and the University of Exeter, looked at the views of stakeholders including farmers, land managers and conservationists.

The work was published in people and nature.

“Our results show that opinions in Scotland about the potential for future reintroduction of lynx are much more diverse, nuanced and complex than has been assumed,” said lead author David Baffin, of the Vincent Wildlife Trust. “Instead of a simple binary division of ‘for’ and ‘against’, we found a range of different points of view.”

Five distinct viewpoints have been identified:

  • Lynx for Change: supports the reintroduction of lynx, with the feeling that lynx can facilitate ecosystem restoration.
  • “Lynx for the Economy”: Also supportive, it anticipates economic benefits for local communities.
  • “No to the lynx”: I strongly disagree, arguing that humans take on the roles of absentees from large carnivores.
  • ‘Scotland isn’t ready’: supported the conversation but noted social and environmental barriers.
  • ‘We are not convinced’: We are not convinced that a suitable case has been made for biodiversity gains but we were open to further exploring the possibilities.

Pavin continued, “The study identified important areas of disagreement about the potential impacts on sheep farming and the degree to which people should manage our environment or be encouraged to self-regulate.

“There was a lack of trust among the stakeholder groups, stemming primarily from the experiences of some of those involved in previous wildlife reintroductions and managing predator recovery. However, there was encouraging agreement that any discussion of lynx reintroduction going forward, A participatory and collaborative approach is essential.”

Dr Sarah Crawley, from the University of Exeter, added, “The study provides a basis for future dialogue among stakeholders about reintroduction of lynxes to Scotland. The findings also have broader relevance to wildlife reintroduction, species recovery, and conservation-related disputes elsewhere.”

The study was conducted in the Cairngorms National Park, based on detailed discussions with 12 people representing a range of groups interested in the issue of lynx reintroduction.

Then a second phase took place, in which 34 new participants took a questionnaire to give their opinions on a set of statements about the issue.

more information:
Stakeholder views on the potential reintroduction of the lynx (Lynx lynx) in Scotland, people and nature (2023). DOI: 10.1002/pan3.10465

Provided by the University of Exeter

the quote: re Lynx in Scotland? It’s Complicated (2023, March 30) Retrieved March 30, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-03-lynx-reintroduction-scotland-complicated.html

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