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Lynx re-introduction in the UK ?

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by vogelcommando, 9 Mar 2015.

  1. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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  2. adrian1963

    adrian1963 Well-Known Member

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    Haven't we had Lynx in the UK for over 20 years unofficially that is?
     
  3. garyjp

    garyjp Well-Known Member

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  4. garyjp

    garyjp Well-Known Member

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    Really where ?
     
  5. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Dotted all over the place; probably not in sustainable numbers in any given location but, for instance, they are certainly present in Northumberland in the wilder areas near the border with Scotland.
     
  6. garyjp

    garyjp Well-Known Member

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    Really Dave
    From where have they came ? All goes on up there !!!
     
  7. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Same way that beavers have popped up intermittently even prior to the official reintroduction programme; people being impatient and a bit naughty and doing so illicitly and illegallly - supplemented by escapes from captive collections.

    In terms of Northumberland specifically, I suspect there will be as few as 4 or 5 individuals in the entire county - so bearing in mind quite a few areas of the country won't be suitable habitat I would not expect there to be any more than 50 individuals tops in the whole UK, with few if any populations overlapping and sustainable.

    The fact they have made so little impact, and remain in the realm of very strong rumour, is a good indication that an official reintroduction programme will demonstrate lynx will blend into the ecosystem quite nicely.
     
  8. garyjp

    garyjp Well-Known Member

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    Dave, I suppose this takes into account the big cat sightings in the UK even thou I'd class Lynx as meduim size really . I mean the chances of them coming across each other must be extremely remote so breeding highly unlikikely - although saying that I do a lot of driving in the south east midlands and norfolk and some of the road kill is very hard to identify . I hope lynx are given a chance after all 92% of our land in the UK is not built on so there must be plenty of room for them to hide .
     
  9. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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  10. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    C'mon, you can't say something that tantalising without adding some supporting evidence. Show us your cards!:D

    Sorry, strong rumours doesn't cut it, there are strong rumours of faked moon landings, immigrant kidney thieves and Loch Ness monsters but I'm not accepting any of those either.

    I'm hoping you've got better evidence for that than for Thylacine existence (which I want to believe, but deep down can't)?
     
  11. Falconhoof

    Falconhoof Well-Known Member

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  12. lamna

    lamna Well-Known Member

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    The notion that there are feral "big" cats in the UK is hardly up there with conspiracy theories and "proper" cryptids.

    Non-native cats have been kept by people in the UK for a long time, both in zoos and private collections. They can and do escape, and sometimes they are latter seen and killed.
    The Hayling Island Jungle cat – Tetrapod Zoology
    Another meeting with the Hayling Island Jungle cat | Tetrapod Zoology, Scientific American Blog Network

    A lynx, shot dead in England in c. 1903 | Tetrapod Zoology, Scientific American Blog Network

    From what I understand this doesn't get published, because the people who know and care have more important stuff to get published than "Did this thing that's obviously possible, and has had over a century to happen in, happen? Yes."
     
  13. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    I'm familiar, to a fair extent, with both cryptozoology (accepting "big" cats aren't cryptids) and conspiracy theories and to be honest I think there's better evidence supporting Bobby Kennedy being took out by someone other than Sirhan Sirhan than there being any significant amount of non-native cats living wild in the UK. Some would disagree with my assertion, I realise it's personal opinion and ultimately a matter of faith.

    A handful of isolated incidents including, say, the Kellas Cat don't really support TLD's assertion that there may be up to 50 Lynx living wild in the UK.

    I don't rule it out, I just believe that whilst it's possible it's not probable -hence me asking for evidence/sources*. I'd be genuinely interested to read more on the matter. What's the phrase, "amazing claims need amazing proof"?


    * I've seen really clever documentaries on the moon landings being faked, that provided very persuasive evidence supporting their claims which accepted as face valuable and in isolation could be taken as "case proven". In a "willing to believe world" (evidenced by so many deity related religions based largely, if not entirely, on faith) I'm just a little more questioning rather than believing what I'd like to be true-I'm not being superior, it's just my stance.
     
  14. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    The most solid piece of evidence was a roadkill lynx just outside Hexham on the B6305 - as such it is known there has been at least the one lynx present, the strong rumour is relating to the continued presence of multiple animals. There is a newspaper article on the topic at the following link:

    Search for lynx in wild cat sightings - The Journal

    And to clarify - my estimate of there possibly being as many as 50 lynx living within the UK is based on scaling up a rough estimate of 5 or 6 animals *maximum* in the North-East and applying it nationwide. I do not believe there is a sustainable population anywhere in the UK, at any rate.

    The following quote from a 2012 book published by the Natural History Society of Northumberland, focusing on the reptiles, amphibians and mammals found in the region but also containing a chapter on the allegations of ABC's in Northumberland and County Durham, has the following to say on the matter:

    By the by, of these options I suspect the second - that there are continued releases - is the most likely. The figure about how large a founder population would need to be in order to be near-certain to persist is interesting on another level, of course - it means that if the reintroduction were to go ahead on a trial basis but be deemed a failure, there would be little to no chance of the population establishing itself nonetheless without further supplement.
     
  15. Brum

    Brum Well-Known Member

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    What bothers me about this is (And I know this a ZooChatter's problem :p) will it be pure bred Northern lynx or will they be sending in sub-specific hybrids or another subspecies? I'd like to assume Northern as I assume these were the lynx that were once native?
    Another point, will the lynx be wild-caught and trans-located or captive bred and non-imprinted?

    As for Dave's observations and facts regarding current native lynx, I'm firmly in the Shorts camp of it would be possible but I don't think it's probable that there could be up to 50 roaming the UK! (However nice that would be! ;) )
     
  16. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    Firstly, thanks TLD, it's interesting, but not convincing for me. I think we'll respectfully agree to differ on this one, though I'm open to further evidence.

    But if the 5 or 6 maximum is not met, and the numbers in the North-East are zero that extrapolates to nil in the UK too.:p

    I'd agree that this would be the most likely option, though I still don't believe it (I struggle to imagine that there's really that many Lynx in private hands, registered or otherwise, to be released in the first place). I'm presuming you'd concur that, longevity-wise and other reasons-wise, the post DWAL introduction release theory just doesn't hold water anymore?
     
  17. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Per your first point, I would hope that they would be Northern as this was the native taxon - although failing this, Carpathian might also be acceptable and possibly more suited to the altered state of habitat than the Northern would be.

    Per your second point, I suspect they might use captive non-imprinted animals for any test run, then use wild-caught animals for any full-scale programme that gets a greenlight - no point risking the waste of wild individuals!

    Oh, I'm not saying they are *native* lynx :p

    To cite the nearest comparison in terms of a taxon we know and have proof is present - but which is more or less never seen - I believe the Vincent Wildlife Trust currently estimates the population of Pine Marten in England is 120 individuals, located in Northumberland, North Yorkshire and Cumbria, with a further 60 individuals in Wales. Granted this taxon is rather smaller than a lynx :p but if 120 individuals can be present but seldom seen or recorded in three counties, I think that <=50 lynx dispersed between Lands End and John O'Groats is not a fantastical prospect.
     
  18. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but I've a friend who's seen a Pine Marten in England and I suspect they've probably been filmed for TV. My argument is that any Lynx would stand out more.

    Relating to sightings of ABC's (I've used that twice in different contexts today, a good day):

    1. I'd refer to the old police adage that "eye witness evidence is some of the least useful evidence to prove anything";

    2. Further evidenced by stuffed toys and shaved dogs that have been mis-identified.

    Don't want to be a David Cameron and walk off after making my point before anyone can reply but my lunch hours over now. Laters amigo.
     
  19. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    The only way that theory would have worked, I suspect, is if the resulting population *had* been in sufficient numbers to successfully breed and establish - which as you will have gathered I do not believe was the case.
     
  20. adrian1963

    adrian1963 Well-Known Member

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    most of the wild cats in the UK are escapee's from private collections or are from the few that were let out in the mid 70's when the dangerous animals act was brought in.

    Lewis Foley who kept 2 lionesses had a friend who let 4 lynx free 2 male & 2 female in the Norfolk area