Reintroducing Species

Northumberland Wildlife Trust believes there are both moral and ecological reasons to consider the reintroduction of species that have been driven to extinction in the UK by human-induced habitat loss or persecution. Reintroductions should only be attempted for species for which there is good evidence of previous presence within historical times at, or nearby, the target site and within similar habitats.

Species that are being considered for reintroduction must be welcomed by the local community. Community concerns are likely to be especially significant in relation to predators (e.g. wolf, lynx, and pine marten) whose historic extinction long predates current generations and whose return may be viewed as potentially affecting community safety or livelihoods. Organisations promoting the return of such species should respect the challenges that historic species absence can bring and spend time seeking to rebuild community connections to the species early in the timeline of a proposed return.

We are already working with local partners to reintroduce the water vole to Kielder Water & Forest Park with our Restoring Ratty project. Five years of field research and partnership building work led to the first releases of water voles into the Park in 2017. We are also building our own proposals for reserve-based floral and butterfly reintroductions.

Our views are informed by the IUCN reintroduction guidelines but we are also aware that there are local issues which need to be considered, such as the scale and importance of land-based industries such as agriculture, forestry and shooting estates.


In considering the current Lynx Trust UK proposals:

The Trust believes there are both moral and ecological reasons to consider the reintroduction of species that have been driven to extinction in the UK by human-induced habitat loss or persecution.

However, the lynx is a species that has been absent from the county for centuries and we believe special efforts must be made inform our communities about lynx ecology and openly engage in meaningful trust-building. Similarly, ecological studies do show lynx predate livestock and gamebirds and consultation should ensure land managers potentially affected by the proposals are engaged and involved in the details of project design.

We have attended Lynx Trust UK local consultation events and met independently with Lynx Trust UK in the last year. However, we remain concerned about the apparent lack of proposal acceptability to local land managers around Kielder and the consequently high potential risk of reintroduction failure, either during the initial trial or a subsequent phase. We do not feel that the Lynx Trust UK has yet demonstrated a level of community support and trust-building appropriate for a project of this significance and we hence cannot currently support this project.