The Reintroduction of Carnivores Into Scotland Essay

3798 WordsNov 28, 201216 Pages
The Reintroduction of Carnivores into Scotland Section 1: An assessment of the arguments for and against the re-introduction of carnivores into Scotland The lynx, wolf and brown bear are all native species which are sadly absent from the Scottish landscape and many would love to see their return; at a recent ‘Wild, free and coming back?’ conference at Findhorn participants expressed optimistic aspirations of “realistic proposals for Lynx and serious discussion about Wolf” in Scotland (Wain, 2008). There appears to be a market for the matter, indeed ECOS issues with a focus on reintroductions are always a sell out (Minter, 2009), and while it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the homecoming of carnivores there are important ecological, economic and ethical arguments to consider both for and against reintroducing large mammals to Scotland. Ecological arguments The rationale for reintroducing carnivores into Scotland to help restore ecosystems and sustain biodiversity is clear; top carnivores play an essential, irreplaceable role in regulating the healthy functioning of ecosystems (Featherstone, 2004). Puplett (2008) predicts roe deer as the main prey of reintroduced lynxes and suggests the lynx could play a vital role in encouraging woodland regeneration. Similarly Featherstone (2004) anticipates that reintroduced wolves would have a disturbance effect on deer in Scotland, causing them to move around and facilitate the recovery of trees and other vegetation as has been documented in Yellowstone National Park since wolves were reintroduced in 1995. Evidence from Sweden suggests that lynx predation can also be a significant factor in limiting fox numbers (Helldin et al., 2006), which can consequently help maintain capercaillie populations (Jobin et al., 2000). Despite the apparent complimentary nature of reintroductions and conservation of

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