Reintroduction of lynx will happen 'over my dead body', Scottish minister says

The possibility of lynx re-introduction has made some in the farming industry worried
The possibility of lynx re-introduction has made some in the farming industry worried

Scotland's Rural Economy Minister has said the reintroduction of lynx will happen "over my dead body" in an apparent swipe to the rewilding agenda.

Fergus Ewing told NFU Scotland's AGM last week that the reintroduction species such as lynx, wolves and beavers makes farming more difficult.

He said it “won’t happen in Scotland as long as I’m around”.

However, Lynx UK Trust claims it has found considerable support from landowners to release the wild cats in Agryllshire and Inverness-shire.

The Trust believes reintroduction is vital in re-storing a natural balance in the British countryside.

But Mr Ewing said the damage beavers have caused to the farming industry in Scotland, for example, “shows precisely why it’s absolutely essential that we do not proceed on any more misguided experiments of this nature.”

'Proper management'

Farmers have expressed concern about the increasing amount of beaver numbers in Scotland.

NFU Scotland has insisted that "proper management" of the species is fundamental in order to avoid impact on agriculture.

Some farmers have warned of considerable damage to farmland and the spread of disease.

Rob Livesey, NFU Scotland’s Vice President previously commented about the situation, saying beavers must be "appropriately managed" to minimise the risk of unacceptable impacts on agriculture.

He said it is a view that is shared by many within the conservation community.

He continued: “It is essential that Scottish agriculture is not negatively affected by this decision.”

NFUS said it is sceptical that beavers can be excluded from areas of highly productive farmland that are heavily reliant on complex drainage systems and flood banks.