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Reintroducing the lynx (1 Viewer)

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
With reasonable protection it should happen, because white-tailed eagle habitat and food (large waters and coasts with fish and waterfowl) is much more common than golden eagle's. WTE is also commoner than GE in several countries in Europe, e.g. Germany and Poland.

.

On a trip to Sweden a few years ago, we had 26 in the sky at once, that was a sight!
 
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Gleb Berloff

Guest
The huge reserve will ensure native species brought back without the threat of them being killed by grossly incompetent and prejudiced farmers
A lot of conservationists think reintroductions will help spare the forests, or at least deer culling is required, but wolves will do that for us. What's the point in being afraid of them? Farmers will never stop yelling- it is best if they are ignored and reintroductions carried out. The WTEs were met with extreme hatred and yet they are back in the skies. why can't wolf, bear, eagle owls and lynx be?
 

dwatsonbirder

Well-known member
Forgive me Gleb, but you appear to have a very idealistic and somewhat naive view on species reintroduction. In the UK, the current legislation ensures that any (re)introduction is subject to something called an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment)* which is used to measure what the impacts that the proposed (re)introduction will have on the environment - this doesn't only cover flora and fauna, but also the landscape and the stakeholders involved.

Implying that all farmers are incompetent, ignorant, blood thirsty morons is quite wide of the mark, and suggests a certain amount of prejudice on your part - I have worked (and volunteered) in the environmental sector for over a decade (not long in comparison to many others here), and have found many who are indeed custodians of the countryside, and who are interested in conserving what species they have on their land, and also improving the habitat - admitted I have only met a tiny % of the total farming workforce, so it is difficult for me to form any kind of consensus.

Without getting too political, the current government is very, very unlikely to implement any positive changes which will benefit the environment, indeed it it looking to scrap much of the environmental legislation post-Brexit. The idea that they would fund or even consider a rewilding project is frankly laughable.

As much as I agree with your sentiments regarding rewilding and the introduction of apex predators, there are two major considerations 1) there is little money in conservation as it stands, and there is certainly no money for such landscape-scale projects and 2) there is insufficient unpopulated land with habitat continuity and agreeable landowners to support species such as Bears and Wolves. Lynx could be possible, but again, it would be difficult to undertake a full EIA given the range such species occupy, as well as ensuring that relevant mitigation is implemented.

It would be far better to spend the money on conserving species or habitats for which the UK is internationally important (seabird colonies, heathland, saltmarsh, coastal temperate rainforest etc) rather than pumping money into what is ultimately a vanity project with limited space, and ultimately reduced genetic flow.



*of note, AFAIK the controversial (and in my opinion idiotic) introduction of White Storks at Knepp was licenced without an EIA. I'm unsure of the mechanics of this from NE's perspective, and it is very unlikely that the project would have been given the green light had a competent ecologist had been able to undertake an EIA.
 
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Gleb Berloff

Guest
Ok what do some conservation elites who call the idea idiotic have against white storks? They bred here 400 years ago. The beaver was returned- why can't the stork be returned?
And I am sure the project would have been given a green light. It is wonderful storks are back- and I am sure landowners in their right minds will have none of any conservation pro jibberish about them being a huge threat. A competent ecologist would have caused a full reintroduction.
Are you against dalmatian pelicans being reintroduced as well?
Are you against the beavers as well?
Will you be against the lammergeier in Derbyshire if it decides to take up residence?
I don't know why some of you are so against reintroduction of once-native species
 

dwatsonbirder

Well-known member
A simple and easy question for you then Gleb, do you think the landscape is the same as it was 400 years ago?

If not, then what is your scientific rationale for (re)introducing species which have been extinct for four centuries (at least) back into a landscape which has a different suite of habitats, species and even climate?
How about releasing a species which is known to more than a little partial to reptiles and amphibians (think Great crested newt/Sand lizard/Smooth snake) into a central point between the main population of said species?
How are you placing greater ecological value on species fit for reintroduction than those which already are present? What about to which kingdom? You've mentioned nothing about the real ecosystem engineers - insects!

No problem with Beavers (hunted to extinction) nor Lammergeiers (which have occurred under their own steam).
Also, referring to an "elite" doesn't do much to your argument unless you're happy to share your rhetoric with Trump/Johnson/Putin/Bolsonaro et al... ;)
 
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Mono

Hi!
Staff member
Supporter
Europe
There is a legal process for (re)introducing species into Britain, are you advocating that that process should abolished. There should be a free for all, where anybody can just release what they like?
 
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Gleb Berloff

Guest
No, I mean this kind of procedure should be carried out, and when birds are found to be clearly native they should be introduced even if farmers start moaning in protest:
https://www.whitestorkproject.org
White storks are native, and this has been found so, they bred once here, so why is there an argument of stopping a population again? Spoonbill and GWE colonised Britain and WTEs are reintroduced. WTEs have far more destructive potential for white storks. If it is good enough for nature organisations mentioned here, then why is there even an argument and the project called idiotic?
To put bluntly some of the procedures the beaver went through were plain idiotic, and THAT should be scrapped. These animals pose no threat and serious evaluation should only be for high-risk species. Goshawk was also introduced without a license- so why were much less harmful beavers threatened despite beavers being harmless and bringing huge ecological benefits and a goshawk being able to one-shot a chicken easily?
So I ask you- is the white stork a high-risk species, a strain on the environment? If you are referring to 'poor' frogs then there is no argument because frogs can and will breed regardless of storks.
It is obvious the lynx is a very high risk species, so why did a certain poster on this thread call the lawful reintroduction of the stork idiotic and yet the lynx is almost fully back?
To me, it is idiotic not to let animals back, especially white storks and especially beavers. Had they been culled from the river it would be outrageous and plain stupid of natural england to do that. Just like not reintroducing low-risk species like white stork and dalmatian pelican.
 
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dwatsonbirder

Well-known member
There is a legal process for (re)introducing species into Britain, are you advocating that that process should abolished. There should be a free for all, where anybody can just release what they like?

I'm not convinced that even Gleb is sure about that! It's not like we have a problem in the UK with certain introduced species...Pheasants, Giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, Japanese Knotweed, Ring necked Parakeets, Zebra mussel, Crassula, Signal crayfish, American mink... etc.

I'm still awaiting a response to the earlier questions I posed also - and preferably with reference to peer reviewed scientific research rather than a privately funded conservation project. There are some great conservation and ecology courses/degrees available which may challenge your perceptions!
 
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Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
No, I mean this kind of procedure should be carried out, and when birds are found to be clearly native they should be introduced even if farmers start moaning in protest:
https://www.whitestorkproject.org
White storks are native, and this has been found so, they bred once here, so why is there an argument of stopping a population ...
So I ask you- is the white stork a high-risk species, a strain on the environment?

These ‘farmers’ you keep referring to are the very people implementing Countryside Stewardship schemes, vital to conservation efforts for a wide range of flora and fauna. In Norfolk that’s particularly relevant for Turtle Doves, Woodlark and Stone Curlew. It’s a good job you don’t actual work in the field of conservation because you would get no where with that attitude. TBH I can’t decide whether you have a naive ‘petting zoo’ approach to nature or one born out of the realms of fantasy and Jurassic Park.


And ...Yes ... in Norfolk, White Stork would be a risk species unless you’d also be happy to see the main Stone Curlew population in the UK decimated as well as Hedgehogs?
 
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jurek

Well-known member
Forgive me Gleb, but you appear to have a very idealistic and somewhat naive view on species reintroduction.

Quite the opposite! Reintroduction of lynx and other large animals is blocked exclusively by human factor. Enough discussion can lead to breaking it down into precise problems and finding a way to overcome them. This is exactly what should be discussed.

Populist politicians could become pro-wildlife if they see enough public support. Obstructive old farmers might be replaced by younger conservation-friendly farmers. Pointless legislation can be voted down or by-passed Etc. etc.

there is insufficient unpopulated land with habitat continuity and agreeable landowners to support species such as Bears and Wolves. Lynx could be possible

This is objectively untrue. Lynx, wolf and bear live now in areas of continental Europe with higher human density and more intensive land use than many parts of Britain. Bears live in Sweden and Slovenia. Lynxes live in there, and also in Switzerland, Germany and France among others. Wolves recently appeared even in Belgium and Netherlands. On this background Scottish highlands come as one of less populated and more wild landscapes in Europe.

It would be far better to spend the money

It has been many times discussed on this forum that 'a common pot of conservation money' is a fallacy. There is enough evidence that conservation of large carnivores and birds of prey in Europe in the last 20 years that it has a positive synergy with other conservation, not a competition.

Positive effects include: better fighting poaching, better protection of ecological corridors, additional arguments for creating new reserves and fighting development inside natural areas, more public interest in conservation. On top of it are positive ecological effects of predators themselves: lowering over-browsing of deer, provision of carrion for smaller carnivores and birds of prey etc.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
.. On this background Scottish highlands come as one of less populated and more wild landscapes in Europe.

It may be less populated but 80% of Scotland’s land area is agricultural land, with 90% of sheep grazing in Less Favoured Areas/Areas of Natural Constraint with dairy and arable farming in lowland areas. This in addition to vast private estates managed for shooting. It’s hard to see where in Scotland, wolves and bears wouldn’t come into conflict with human interests and suffer illegal persecution as a result. It may be less populated in human terms but it’s certainly not the Tatras.

Positive effects include: better fighting poaching, better protection of ecological corridors, additional arguments for creating new reserves and fighting development inside natural areas, more public interest in conservation. .

This sounds like a sales pitch but we have reintroduced BoP species in the past with great marketing and publicity (ie White-tailed Eagles, Red Kites) but it hasn’t stopped Hen Harriers becoming on the verge of extinction in England, owls and buzzards regularly shot or poisoned or vast wind farm installations being built in areas highly vulnerable to raptor casualties. I don’t see how a few wolves and bears will be a panacea that ‘saves the environment’ or holds back the tide of human encroachment into ‘wild’ areas.
 
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dwatsonbirder

Well-known member
Hi Jurek,

A couple of considerations...

Quite the opposite! Reintroduction of lynx and other large animals is blocked exclusively by human factor. Enough discussion can lead to breaking it down into precise problems and finding a way to overcome them. This is exactly what should be discussed.

I agree, and it is an interesting discussion - that is not the issue that I have though, it is that much of Gleb's diatribe isn't qualified or back up with any proper scientific understanding. As Deb says, it's all sounding a bit Jurassic Park...

Populist politicians could become pro-wildlife if they see enough public support. Obstructive old farmers might be replaced by younger conservation-friendly farmers. Pointless legislation can be voted down or by-passed Etc. etc.

Populist politicians are already voting down "pointless legislation" - just look at what is happening in the US, UK, Poland and Brazil. In modern times, the infamous quote of "its the economy, stupid" shows where public interest truly rests - having financial security above all else. The apparent global inaction on climate change also shows how low down the list of priorities the environment is for the general public. These are clear examples of what populists really think about the environment - there are no left wing populists, just right wing capitalists who have a total lack of understanding and disregard for ecosystem services etc.

This is objectively untrue. Lynx, wolf and bear live now in areas of continental Europe with higher human density and more intensive land use than many parts of Britain. Bears live in Sweden and Slovenia. Lynxes live in there, and also in Switzerland, Germany and France among others. Wolves recently appeared even in Belgium and Netherlands. On this background Scottish highlands come as one of less populated and more wild landscapes in Europe.

All these countries are connected on an common landmass, which allows movement at landscape scale. The UK is not. My point stands that there isn't enough land with habitat continuity and agreeable landowners in the UK. That is a major stumbling block which cannot be overlooked. Without amenable landowners, these apex predators would simply be exterminated each time they entered areas where they were not welcome, and the project would be over before these species would have even begun to get a foothold. This would also waste money which could have been spent elsewhere.
Scotland is perhaps one of the least wild landscapes in Europe, majorly affected by anthropomorphic activities (shooting estates) and should actually be mostly forested. If the argument is that (re)introduction of species absent for hundreds of years should take place, then surely they must be introduced into a landscape that matches the temporal scale at the point they last existed? Otherwise what is the distinction in what is actually native/natural?!

It has been many times discussed on this forum that 'a common pot of conservation money' is a fallacy. There is enough evidence that conservation of large carnivores and birds of prey in Europe in the last 20 years that it has a positive synergy with other conservation, not a competition.

Positive effects include: better fighting poaching, better protection of ecological corridors, additional arguments for creating new reserves and fighting development inside natural areas, more public interest in conservation. On top of it are positive ecological effects of predators themselves: lowering over-browsing of deer, provision of carrion for smaller carnivores and birds of prey etc.

I completely agree, but again, my point related to the apportion of available resources - it is my opinion that money should be spent on what we have that is of value, rather than what we don't have!
 
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Gleb Berloff

Guest
Reintroducing the white stork has its own ecological benefits. White stork was hunted to extinction. Allegedly because of Christian stuff, and to be honest I have seen INSANELY stupid Christian prejudice, but it was hunted to EXTINCTION. Same as with badgers. So what is the problem with this species? It might snap up a few newts? If the risk was really that great nobody would have introduced it there, and in case that website didn't make it clear conservation organisations were involved.
If something was decimated it should be brought back.
Say the golden eagle was eradicated, and I said 'What's the problem with it returning to Scotland?' Why do I suspect I'd get a ton of words merely hinting at some animals being hunted?
That is the way of life- and unless this stork wouldn't have curbed any newts and things, it wouldn't be brought back, and that also makes it clear a reintroduction to reintroduce 250 of them was approved1 I am sure everyone involved knows more than you who I think merely has a problem with newts being snapped up, right?
Lynx was curbed 1,300 years ago and is almost back! And these can EASILY kill capercaillie. Apparently from what I have heard from Russia you can just walk up to a displaying capercaillie. It is nicknamed 'the deaf one' for that reason. Was that stupid and irresponsible, too?
I have yet to see ONE reason opposing storks.
I am sorry you feel sorry for great crested newts but white storks deserve a place here ever since wiped out! this is quite different from e.g. the orioles which went extinct due to climate factors.
I will be supporting the reintroduction of white storks and lynx till the end since it was proven they are native and were curbed out by prejudice and hunting. They deserve to be back. At the same time I would NEVER support e.g. introduction of a harpy eagle because quite simply that either wouldn't survive or become an English equivalent of a cane toad.
Native animals should be protected, but these destroyed should be brought back! WTE had much greater risks than just a bit of killing GCNs and IT is back. What's the problem here, then?
At any rate, seethe all you want about how stupid it was, but white storks, a native species, are back and there's nothing you can do to change that.
About the landscape not being the same- where is the bigger difference, 604 years of 1,00 years? you don't seem to have a problem with lynx which died out a millennium ago, so why are you against storks which already bred and hatched three chicks successfully and a full-scale reintroducing project is underway?
I am sure if it was that terrible as you make it out nobody would have returned the stork. But something tells me you are overinflating, because a lot of ecologists were involved, and it is back now.
 

dwatsonbirder

Well-known member
I think as a professional ecologist I'll agree to disagree with you Gleb, and politely suggest that further education in ecological principals involves understanding multiple stakeholders, as well as ecosystem functioning, trophic layers, species synergies, cascade effects, genetic depression, economics etc.
You have obviously made up your mind, I am old enough to know better than to argue with opinionated people on internet forums. Good luck with your future career in conservation/ecology, your passion for the subject is apparent.
 
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Mono

Hi!
Staff member
Supporter
Europe
Lynx were not hunted to extinction in Britain, they died out when the post glacial woodland was cleared. Without large continuous woodland there is no hope of having a healthy lynx population in the UK and with no chance of having a self sustaining population what is the point of reintroduction? Having a handful of lynx in a fenced enclosure is just another safari park but with less chance of seeing the animals.

That is the problem with the Knepp stork project, it has little chance of being self sustaining without major changes to farming practices. It is putting the cart before the horse; connect the woodlands, deintentisfy agriculture, undrain the fields, stop the persecution, then wait for the wildlife to return. If it doesn't return then consider artificial introduction, it should be the last resort not the first.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Reintroducing the white stork has its own ecological benefits ...So what is the problem with this species? It might snap up a few newts?
...
I have yet to see ONE reason opposing storks.

Did you read my earlier post Gleb? I gave you a good reason why White Stork could be problematic in Norfolk just to give you an example of why ‘reintroduction’ of species can not be approved in the abstract.. I also (on the lynx thread), gave you a link on ecological synergies to hopefully put some of your ‘ideas’ into spacio-temporal context with regard to introductions in general.

No one here is ‘anti-stork’, ‘anti-EO’ or anti any species or indeed ‘anti-reintroduction’ per se and personally I applaud the progress made in this area (Cirl Bunting, WTE, Red Kite, Corncrake in the UK, Marbled Duck, Bonelli’s, Griffon, Northern Bald Ibis and Bearded Vulture abroad just to name a few) but one needs to understand the ecological niche of the species being recommended for reintroduction and the ecosystem in which they function before making wild suggestions about what and where you would consider suitable for ‘reintroductions’. Finally and not least, the specific socio-economic drivers of regional development in any proposed area for release needs to be understood and where it may be asynchronous with the objective of the reintroduction. Risk assessments, habitat moderation if required, mitigation and compensation with projected outcomes need to be at the heart of the feasibility study. These factors can’t be after-thoughts or reactive damage limitation - that scenario could well lead to conflict, possible human hardships, antipathy towards to project, failure of the reintroduction to become self-sustaining, and at worse illegal persecution of the reintroduced species.
 
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Gleb Berloff

Guest
Lynx were not hunted to extinction in Britain, they died out when the post glacial woodland was cleared. Without large continuous woodland there is no hope of having a healthy lynx population in the UK and with no chance of having a self sustaining population what is the point of reintroduction? Having a handful of lynx in a fenced enclosure is just another safari park but with less chance of seeing the animals.

That is the problem with the Knepp stork project, it has little chance of being self sustaining without major changes to farming practices. It is putting the cart before the horse; connect the woodlands, deintentisfy agriculture, undrain the fields, stop the persecution, then wait for the wildlife to return. If it doesn't return then consider artificial introduction, it should be the last resort not the first.
It will be self-sustaining, with 250 storks scheduled for release. You think you know everything- the ecologists involved there know better.
You could not have been more wrong about lynx:
From lynxuk:
The lynx was hunted to extinction in the UK. It’s time to bring it back.
The Eurasian lynx, an animal native to the British Isles, is a medium-sized felid that has been forced out of much of Western Europe by habitat destruction and human persecution. The last of the British lynx disappeared 1,300 years ago. Read our guide to this most iconic of species.
From Nat Geo:
Eurasian lynx used to stalk the forests of Britain. This magnificent cat’s greatest assets – a beautiful pelt, and sharp claws and teeth – were also tragically its curse. By around 700 AD our ancestors, either through sport, the fur trade or fear for the safety of their livestock, had hunted them to extinction. Now, a group of environmentalists wants to bring them back.
inhabitat.com
Despite this, the species disappeared from Great Britain during the Middle Ages due to habitat loss and excessive hunting, according to the Journal of Quaternary Science. Now British scientists, spearheaded by the conservation group Lynx UK Trust, are pushing to have the Eurasian lynx reintroduced into the British Isles, especially in the Scottish wilds.

So yeah I just obliterated your claim that lynx was not hunted to extinction. The white storks will survive just as well as the WTE did on Wight and Hebrides, and lynx will return. If a small echo of conservation elites start posting bogus claims like that, little will change. White stork project is already underway- no way to stop it, and from what I see true ecologists knwo far more than some angry armchair researchers scared about some newts
 
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Gleb Berloff

Guest
Did you read my earlier post Gleb? I gave you a good reason why White Stork could be problematic in Norfolk just to give you an example of why ‘reintroduction’ of species can not be approved in the abstract.. I also (on the lynx thread), gave you a link on ecological synergies to hopefully put some of your ‘ideas’ into spacio-temporal context with regard to introductions in general.

No one here is ‘anti-stork’, ‘anti-EO’ or anti any species or indeed ‘anti-reintroduction’ per se and personally I applaud the progress made in this area (Cirl Bunting, WTE, Red Kite, Corncrake in the UK, Marbled Duck, Bonelli’s, Griffon, Northern Bald Ibis and Bearded Vulture abroad just to name a few) but one needs to understand the ecological niche of the species being recommended for reintroduction and the ecosystem in which they function before making wild suggestions about what and where you would consider suitable for ‘reintroductions’. Finally and not least, the specific socio-economic drivers of regional development in any proposed area for release needs to be understood and where it may be asynchronous with the objective of the reintroduction. Risk assessments, habitat moderation if required, mitigation and compensation with projected outcomes need to be at the heart of the feasibility study. These factors can’t be after-thoughts or reactive damage limitation - that scenario could well lead to conflict, possible human hardships, antipathy towards to project, failure of the reintroduction to become self-sustaining, and at worse illegal persecution of the reintroduced species.

Wait, were we talking about different things?
The Knepp estate is in Sussex, isn't it?
These species have been evaluated and deemed suitable for reintroduction. White stork wouldn't have been brought back unless that had happened. Same with WTE and lynx- they were evaluated and the projects were deemed fine. It is difficult to see why white stork would be persecuted. Lynx and even WTE I understand, but white stork?
 
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