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The Scottish Rewilding Alliance is calling on the Scottish Greens to put lynx and beaver at the heart of any agreement it reaches with the Scottiosh National Party.
The Scottish Greens’ manifesto states it would ‘support the gradual reintroduction of species native to Scotland where appropriate and in cooperation with local communities, including a lynx reintroduction trial’.
‘The Scottish Greens have committed to restoring nature through rewilding, including a trial lynx reintroduction,’ said Steve Micklewright, Scottish Rewilding Alliance convenor and chief executive of Trees for Life.
‘If they reach an agreement with the SNP that includes this commitment, many will see this as a sign they can achieve real change through cooperation.’
The Labrador-sized Eurasian lynx was driven to extinction in Scotland around 500-1,000 years ago through hunting and habitat loss.
It has now been reintroduced to many areas of Europe, including areas used for farming, hunting, forestry and tourism.
Research suggests the Highlands has enough habitat to support around 400 lynx, which the rewilding alliance believes could help to restore nature’s balance by controlling numbers of roe deer, the cat’s preferred prey.
Following a survey which showed that 52per cent of Scots supported and 19 per cent disagreed with a pilot reintroduction of lynx, Steve said: ‘A trial reintroduction of lynx will have very strong public support, and there would be no clearer signal that Scotland intends to become the world’s first Rewilding Nation.’
The alliance also wants to see a better approach to beaver relocations to suitable areas of Scotland where beavers are still missing, to help stop the wild beavers being killed when they cause problems for farmers on Tayside.
Since the government legally protected beavers in 2019, NatureScot has issued dozens of licences resulting in 20 per cent of the Scottish population being killed in 201, according to the alliance.
Steve explained: ‘Nearly all of these beavers could have been relocated to parts of Scotland where local landowners and communities want the benefits they bring, including reducing the risk of flooding. A deal between the Greens and SNP deal must tackle this needless waste of life.’