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Rewilding will lose its support as soon as a dog is killed warns Ray Mears

The TV presenter and survivalist Ray Mears has warned about the consequences of reintroducing wolves and lynx to Britain



Opponents of rewilding will be encouraged by the warning sounded by popular TV presenter and survivalist Ray Mears, who says that public support for rewilding schemes will evaporate as soon as the first pet dog is killed. He states that reintroducing wolves and lynx to Britain would be a disaster.

Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival he stated: “There’s a part of me that loves the idea of seeing these animals in the wild but I just don’t think, as a realist in Britain, where we have 13 per cent woodland, that we are ready for the consequences.”

“These animals only have to consume somebody’s dog and they then become the hound of hell — and what happens is you end up with more hatred for the animal than before you started.”

Beavers, boars and pine martens have been reintroduced to Britain but Ray says: “These aren’t animals that eat your pet”.

Dr Rob Stoneman, director of Landscape Recovery at The Wildlife Trusts, disagrees. “Reintroducing apex predators such as lynx would play a vital role in helping to restore nature because they have hugely positive effects on woodlands — in the UK many woods are known to be in poor condition,” he said.

“They’re badly needed to help maintain balanced numbers of other animals so that woods can regenerate. Lynx are shy creatures that keep their distance from humans, and they’ve been welcomed back across Europe as a beautiful icon of nature recovery. It’s time we did the same.”

Alasdair Mitchell recently wrote in Shooting Times about the consequences of reintroducing apex predators and rewilding. Earlier this year a jogger was killed by a bear in northern Italy at a spot popular with tourists. Alasdair commented: “I have observed before that those who are most enthusiastic about the reintroduction of apex predators seldom live in places where these things are being turned loose. I am not necessarily against reintroductions, but I do wonder why proponents never seem to have a plan if something starts to go wrong.”