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Thetford estates fear for livestock if the lynx is reintroduced

PUBLISHED: 11:26 17 March 2015 | UPDATED: 16:51 17 March 2015

Lynx

Photograph: Erwin Van Maanen

Lynx Photograph: Erwin Van Maanen

Erwin Van Maanen

Estates neighbouring the proposed new home for a species of cat that has been extinct in the UK for 1,300 years have raised fears it could target their livestock.

An ambitious rewilding scheme could see the lynx brought back to Thetford Forest, according to proposals made by the Lynx UK Trust.

Talks with landowners have taken place, and a public consultation is due to launch soon.

But estates neighbouring and within the forest have already raised fears that their livestock could be eaten by the lynx, as well as complaining they have not been consulted about the plans.

Andrew Blenkiron, Euston Estate director, said he was “very concerned”.

“We have outdoor pigs, lambs and game birds and that seems the ideal menu for a lynx. We already have enough of a challenge from foxes.

“I don’t know what benefits its release would bring, and how would it be controlled in terms of its breeding?

“The moment we start to interfere and a make a dramatic change in the environment, we quite often have a detrimental impact and that’s the concern here,” he said.

Lord Fisher, owner of the Kilverstone Estate, said he had just returned from a week away and was not impressed by the plans.

“This is the first I have heard of the plans and I hope it is the last,” he said.

A spokesman for the Elveden Estate also confirmed it had “concerns” about the plans, with particular fears over its lambs, the livestock that graze on its heathlands, and the deers on the estate.

Paul O’Donoghue, a science adviser to Lynx UK Trust, said there would be little risk to livestock and pets because lynx stay away from people and do not hunt in exposed, open areas.

It is hoped the introduction of the lynx will help reduce the population of deer in Thetford Forest.

What do you think about the estates’ concerns? Email andrew.fitchett@archant.co.uk

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