Bid to reintroduce lynx and wolf to countryside|Ed Malone||09/13/06 at 09:55:04|obadiah|xx|0||

Bid to reintroduce lynx and wolf to countryside


If you go down to the woods beware of a big surprise, as walkers may soon have a preying wolf or lynx stalking their path.

An animal group calling themselves the Wild Beasts Trust are preparing to release dozens of dangerous predatory animals into the countryside, putting humans and livestock at risk, police fear.

Packs of wolves and Britain's extinct hunting cat, the lynx, which once freely roamed the hills and forests across Britain, could be illegally reintroduced to parts of Northumberland, West Scotland and the borders.

Police are investigating plans by a group of extremists called the Wild Beasts Trust to release at least six lynx purchased in France, along with a number of wolves being held by activists in secret locations.

The group led by a former Conservative parliamentary candidate are also plotting to turn walruses loose in the Dee Estuary on the border with Cheshire and North Wales, and moose in the Tyne Valley and Wales.

The madcap scheme has been branded "ludicrous" by wildlife experts who say that there is a risk of the animals attacking children and it could cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to crops and livestock.

Countryside Alliance North East director Richard Dodd said: "This is a ludicrous idea.

"Wolves are dangerous animals. What happens if they start killing children or farmers' livestock?"

But Wild Beasts Trust director Peter Clarke, once a Conservative candidate in Alyn and Deeside, claims that it would restore a host of native species which have been hunted to extinction.

The group is thought to be planning to set loose three European lynx in the Scottish borders, three in Galloway, and six near Mohammed al-Fayed's 30,000-acre Balnagowan Castle estate in Easter Ross, as well as other species in Northumberland.

Lemming, elk, boar, wolverine and bison are also thought to be on the activists' shopping list.

Mr Clarke from the Ettrick Valley, near Selkirk in Scotland, said: "Our wold enthusiasts are absolutely determined to release this species back into the wild.

"We still carry a vague folk memory of wolves and lynx as dangerous to humans and to farm stock, especially sheep.

"Everyone has Little Red Riding Hood in their mental furniture, but that is far from the reality.

"I have been to places on the continent where they have wolves, and a wolf would prefer to eat a hare, a rabbit or a vole than a sheep."

It has been hundreds of years since the howl of the wolf haunted Britain's forests after they were declared extinct in England around 1500.

But Defra experts claim their reintroduction could be "devastating" to the countryside where it is feared that they would prey on livestock and could mate with domestic farm animals.

A spokesman said:"The effect of inappropriate introductions or reintroductions on native wildlife and habitats and on the economy, and particularly on agriculture and tourism which depend on a healthy landscape, could be absolutely devastating."

Only three formerly extinct species- the great bustards, pool frogs and a small number of beavers- have been reintroduced legally in the UK in the last few years, as it is an offence to release non-native species.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "We are currently looking into the claims made by this group.

"If wild animals are released into the countryside, this could endanger the animals themselves, other livestock and could possibly be a threat to humans."
|| Re: Bid to reintroduce lynx and wolf to countrysid|Ed Malone||09/13/06 at 09:55:45|obadiah|xx|0||

The Lynx effect

Tabloids News - 12/09/06 - Neil Davey

It's behind you

MegaStar says: ‘Why can’t they release more of the non-bitey ones?’

Animal rights activists. You’ve gotta love ‘em.

In addition to setting free hundreds of mink over the years from fur farms - which has devastated local wildlife, but hey, at least the mink are safe, right? – they’ve set their sights on some bigger plans.

According to an article in the Daily Mail, a group of self-styled “rural guerrillas” calling themselves Wild Beasts Trust has decided that the UK needs to return to its old ecosystem. So they’re planning to release some of the species which have become extinct in the UK back into the wild.

They’re believed to have bought six lynxes from France which they’re aiming to release in parts of Northumberland and the West of Scotland. They’re also believed to be holding several wolves which they plan to release in the same locations.

“We are absolutely determined,” said Wild Beasts Trust’s Peter Clarke. Possibly confusing “determined” with “insane”.

Amazingly, Clarke was a special advisor to the Environment Secretary back in the days of Margaret Thatcher. Which might go some way to explain the Tory’s poor record on such issues.

Richard Dodd of the Countryside Alliance hit the nail on the head when he responded that “this is a ludicrous idea. Wolves are dangerous animals. What happens if they start killing children or livestock?” “If”, Mr Dodd? More like “when”.

The group are also planning to buy and release moose, elks, a couple of walruses in the Dee Estuary, bison, and some lemmings.

For the record, as well as being painfully stupid, it’s also illegal to release non-native species in the wild. The offence carries a possible £40K fine or six months in jail. So there.

|| Re: Bid to reintroduce lynx and wolf to countrysid|Ed Malone||09/13/06 at 09:56:15|obadiah|xx|0||

Police investigate plot to release wolves back into wild in Scotland
IT HAS been more than 250 years since Scots were haunted by the howl of a wolf in the wild, but it may soon become commonplace again if a group of determined activists, calling themselves the Wild Beasts Trust, gets its way.

Leading figures in the organisation plan to release wolves and possibly up to six lynxes from a property in the Borders back into the the wild.

A police investigation is now under way after forces on both sides of the Border warned the Wild Beasts Trust it would be breaking the law, which strictly prohibits the random release of such animals into the countryside.

Animal-welfare groups criticised the plan as a hazardous stunt that would potentially cause suffering to the wolves and lynxes, as well as native species and livestock.

They point out that when activists recently broke into pens and released wild boar in Devon, the animals caused thousands of pounds' worth of damage to crops and livestock.

However, the Wild Beasts Trust prides itself for acting on the margins of the law and said it remained determined to go through with its plan.

Spokesman Peter Clarke, a former Tory candidate and landowner who lives near Selkirk, claimed yesterday the trust's activities were "doing more for Scottish natural heritage than the organisation of the same name".

He added: "What we're doing is bringing the beasties back."

Mr Clarke said the "Little Red Riding Hood" folk memory of the animals being dangerous was a myth and that farmers should not worry about their livestock would be eaten.

The group's ultimate goal is to restore a host of species to the UK - including bison, wild bear and walrus as well as lynxes and wolves - whether it receives official government approval or has to act illegally.

Northumbria Police, which said it is investigating the claims, and Lothian and Borders Police, confirmed yesterday the move would break several laws and warned the group it would be committing a serious offence.

The rural affairs department of the Scottish Executive warned that releasing animals such as lynxes and wolves into the countryside would be illegal.

But Mr Clarke claimed the benefits of reintroducing various recently- extinct species would be numerous.

Most accounts say the last wild wolf in Scotland was killed on the upper reaches of the River Findhorn in 1743.

Mr Clarke said: "Everyone has Little Red Riding Hood in their mental furniture, but that is far from the reality.

"I have been to places on the continent where they have wolves, and a wolf would prefer to eat a hare, a rabbit or a vole than a sheep."

Colin Galbraith, of Scottish Natural Heritage, said: "Anyone releasing animals, such as the lynx, into the wild in Scotland without a licence would not only be breaking the law, but would also be demonstrating a lack of appreciation towards the animals' welfare."

Meanwhile, Richard Dodd, of the Countryside Alliance, said the plan by the Wild Beasts Trust was a "ludicrous idea". He went on: "Wolves are dangerous animals. What happens if they start killing children or farmers' livestock?"

Dr David Hetherington, who studied at Aberdeen University the potential benefits of reintroducing lynxes into the wild, said: "We need to look here at what has happened in Europe when reintroduction of lynxes have been carried out clandestinely.

"These exercises tend to fail because there has been no communication with local communities who inevitably feel threatened by the animals and consequently shoot or snare them."

• Birdwatchers scrambled to a beach at Broughty Ferry yesterday to catch a rare sight of a white pelican believed to have escaped from a sanctuary on Isle of Man.

This article:

Last updated: 12-Sep-06 09:42 BST
|| Re: Bid to reintroduce lynx and wolf to countrysid|Ed Malone||09/13/06 at 09:57:06|obadiah|xx|0||

‘We have enough trouble with foxes’ – NFU leader

A FARMERS’ union chief has hit out at proposals from a campaign group to introduce wild animals, including wolves and big cats, to the countryside around Wrexham.

The Wild Beasts Trust wants to see carnivorous wild animals returned to land across the UK, and says the Wrexham area, with its open countryside and wooded areas, could be enhanced by packs of wolves and the introduction of lynx, and would also be ideal for moose.

The Scottish-based organisation campaigns for the reintroduction of animals including bears, wild boars and grey whales to the UK and its surrounding coastline.

Trust director Peter Clarke said: “It may not be possible to bring the dragon to Wales, but we could certainly consider the wolverine, which is quite dragon-like and very handsome.

“My favourite one for the area would be the moose. They are very engaging and attractive creatures, and I think they would enhance the landscape.

“Another issue wild animals could tackle would be a surfeit of deer. If that is the case, you would need some wolves or lynx to deal with the problem.”

Mr Clarke, a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate who says he was once offered the opportunity to stand in Alyn and Deeside, added he could also envisage walruses being introduced to the Dee Estuary and North Wales coast.

He said: “They are wonderful, amazing creatures. Fisherman think they would eat the fish, but all they eat are limpets.”

Ken Bellis, National Farmers’ Union Clywd County Chairman, dismissed the idea of introducing carnivorous wild animals to the area.

He said: “We have enough trouble as it is with foxes, so to add wolves would not be a good idea at all.

“It would especially be a problem in forested areas where foxes are already a danger to lambs as it is, so this would be a bad move.

“It would not help at all, particularly if we were not allowed to kill these wild animals. I would not welcome this kind of idea and we do not need this at all.”

Peter Watson, executive director of The Deer Initiative, a partnership aimed at promoting the sustainable and balanced population of wild deer, which is based in Wrexham, said the idea of using carnivores to control deer was an interesting concept, but would in his view prove impractical.

He said: “The practicalities of carnivore ranges and human population ranges in the UK would make it very difficult to achieve.”

Mr Clarke admitted that the wolf and lynx were the most contentious candidates for reintroduction.

However, he said farmers should not be concerned. “We still carry a vague folk memory of these two carnivores as dangerous to humans and to farm stock, especially sheep,” he said.

“Everyone has Little Red Riding Hood in their mental furniture, but that is far from the reality.

“I have been to places on the continent where they have wolves, and a wolf would prefer to eat a hare, a rabbit or a vole than a sheep.

“You can look at Europe for areas where this has actually happened for the evidence that it can w|| Re: Bid to reintroduce lynx and wolf to countrysid|selkie||10/11/06 at 14:39:02|selkie|xx|0||Interesting reading peoples comments on these articles.
There is still this thing about wolves being nasty and evil killing machines.
Yet I remember reading somewhere that when it comes to people being killed by animals in the wild, animals like Deer and moose are big killers.  And Hippos too if I remember rightly.||