A false start for lynx reinstatement
The decision to refuse the application by the Lynx UK Trust for a trial release of lynx was announced at the beginning of December (1). The reasons for the refusal make for interesting reading, but before I get to those, I need to provide some back history. I reported in April last year about attending the first meeting in February 2017 of the Project Stakeholder Forum of the Lynx UK Trust (2). I wrote an upbeat account of the dealings I had with the team working with the project since I had become a full member of that constituted advisory group the year before (3). I had remarked to others at the time that the team consisting of legal, veterinary, consultation and environmental professionals, were remarkably invested in the project and self-motivated. I moved on in the article to detail the solid progress that we were made aware of at the Forum, and which could be documented outside of the information given at the meeting (2). I gave no flavour of the critical voices of some members of the Forum who had come with an implacable resolve to disavow anything to do with a trial release of lynx, as the Terms of Reference for the Forum called for confidentiality (4). The closed-mindedness of the comments leads me easily to dismiss them even now. I left the meeting a little frustrated, but buoyed with a commitment to provide further information about a reinstatement of lynx planned for the Palatinate Forest on the western border of Germany, and which backs on to the Vosges du Nord in France. I had commended this to the Forum as an example of an expected cross border migration that would be relevant for the project, since it was likely that the trial release of lynx in to the Kielder Forest would result in migration over the Scottish Border into Wauchope Forest, and therefore need licence applications on both sides of the border, and might even indicate a need to consider complementary releases (2,5).
The Trust cut and run
A few weeks later, I heard from the team that some good progress was being made in the consultation process with the farming community around Kielder, but that this needed more time devoted to it (6) There had also been some discussion about the Trust becoming a charitable entity so that it had a broader base of attraction and governance before submitting the application for trial release. Shortly after that, in May 2017, the whole thing unravelled, as the team was pushed away by the Trust, or walked away. My inquiries were met with a reluctance to discuss what had happened, and which I will explain later. I kicked around my own take on this unravelling with Steve, who had always been wary of getting involved. I could see what the issue was with governance – the Lynx UK Trust Community Interest Company was set up in January 2015 with a single Director having majority voting rights as principal of the Trust (7,8). I could also see from the company documentation that the legal adviser to the Trust, who was part of the team, had become a Director in December 2016, but had resigned on 10 May 2017, around the time of the unravelling (7). In the meantime, a second principal of the Trust had become a Director on 21 March 2017, the two principals being related (7). It struck me that events had become a disagreement about pace, that the Trust probably no longer felt in the driving seat, having become impatient with the extent of consultation driven by the team, and when it seemed to me that the Trust had become less involved the longer it went on. The team probably sensed that the consultation phase was a good confidence building exercise with the local population, and would have preferred to wait on the application. Maybe, at some point, the Trust had stamped its foot and wanted to cut directly to the application - it would put the principals of Trust back in the spotlight.
The unravelling came as a shock in terms of how I thought it would play out in the public's perception. It would give the National Sheep Association, fierce opponents of lynx release, a field day in crowing over what appeared to be a collapse, but this never happened. Given that the whole team were parting ways with the Trust, it was hard to see who would be left other than the two principals. A key question for me was who would have ownership of the considerable output from the team up to that point, the surveys, reports, research etc. and even the target site for release? Would the Trust have the capacity, or even a finished set of documentation, and with finance in place, to proceed on its own with the application? Would a new entity better placed to deliver on what was needed have to start all over again? It was also a little embarrassing that having revealed my involvement with Trust, I would now have to disavow it and give a plausible reason for doing so.
In early July 2017, reports began to appear in newspapers that the Trust had announced that it was to make an application to Natural England for a trial release of lynx, the Trust saying that the consultation period was over (9,10) when I was aware that the consultation team before being pushed away had been on the verge of preparing an interim report on activity between August 2016 to May 2017 that would suggest otherwise (see later). Within a couple of days, the newspapers were reporting that the application had gone in from the Trust “after it carried out a 20-month consultation of locals and wildlife organisations” (11,12). I felt strongly that as a member of the Project Stakeholder Forum, I should have been informed of what was going on. There’s no point in maintaining confidentiality now, so I knew from the Forum meeting that there needed to be more detailed, site-specific data for the five year trial so that a more refined and accurate comparison of the potential costs and benefits of the project could be made; that release pen areas had yet to be identified; and that an ecological risk assessment for the trial had to be carried out to comply with Habitats Regulation Assessment (13) as well as IUCN guidelines on species reintroduction (14) and Scotland’s guidelines for conservation translocations (15). A spatial plan had been laid out to the Forum on how the consultation was to continue, based on targeted stakeholders in the primary and secondary zones around Kielder, and there was a commitment that a Local Advisory Group would be set up. We had also discussed a mitigation strategy for veterinary issues, such as disease and welfare risk assessments, and a business plan that would have the evidence needed to show that the project had sufficient funds to carry out its plans. I should point out that neither of the principals of the Trust made the effort to attend this meeting. You may have noticed that I have not named them, nor will I. As you will discover, I wouldn’t want to give them the oxygen of publicity they crave, and so you can search out their names for yourself from references I provide.
Why don’t journalist do any fact checking?
Against this background, I came across a blog that was highly critical of the lynx project, but its arguments were based on posturing in the press by the Trust (16) and, while it acknowledged that the team had “jumped ship” as revealed by an article in a local newspaper (17) it seemed to me that the author was traducing the efforts of the team by association with that posturing. I left a comment that the team had no control over the publicity seeking of the Trust. I explained that the author was misrepresenting the good work that had been done for free by the team, such as legal issues, site analysis, cost benefit, veterinary and welfare, with ecological impact to come (16). I emphasised the development of the local consultation process based on Q Methodology, and which after the first meeting in Kielder (admittedly a disaster) was taken forward by the team in the knowledge that it was an essential part of the development needed for the licence application, and that their latest report on the consultation process would show that further consultation was needed. I ventured that other reports, like that on ecological impact, would not now be done, and that it was hard to see how the Trust could still do them without the team in place. It had been the team that had seen the need for the governance of the project to be improved by seeking charitable status. However, it was apparent that the Trust had been able to rebuff all this, and instead determine to proceed with an under-developed and thus premature application that had no support from the team, nor of the Project Stakeholder Forum as it had not been informed of events, or of the intentions of the Trust. The article in a local newspaper, which I had also seen, had said that a new charitable group was to be set up to pursue its own application, and I urged the blog’s author to consider that if his interest was in supporting the return of lynx, then maybe he should get involved. Given that the author of the blog had been able to find that article in a local newspaper that revealed the unravelling (17) I commented that it begged the question of why so many journalists had just swallowed what the Trust put out without doing any fact checking.
I read an announcement a couple of weeks ago of a new form of journalism that seeks to “unbreak” the news from its daily grind, its founding principles being to get it away from simplifications, steering clear of headline grabbing news that shocks rather than informs, and do it through a reader-driven news model (18,19). A phrase in that announcement seems entirely prescient in describing this incompetence of journalists in finding out what is going on, and where they should seek answers – “a hundred readers will always know more than a single journalist” (18). The article in the local newspaper confirmed much of what I had suspected, such as the disagreement over whether to seek charitable status for the Trust, and on the need to extend the local consultation (17). The article had sought comment from the Trust, but it did not refer directly to the rift, just that there had been a difference of views, and that it would soon be introducing the team that would take forward the trial reintroduction. That would be the only acknowledgement by the Trust that something untoward had happened, but it should have given cause for caution in accepting anything further from the Trust at face value. Yet many journalists did, while confirming that the application by the Trust had gone ahead. Thus ITV News reported that “An international team of experts have spent the last year detailing an approach to a reintroduction, consulting with national stakeholders, studying potential release sites, and consulting with local communities and businesses about the lynx and how a reintroduction might look. Their findings have been extensively recorded and submitted this week to the statutory agency responsible for licensing species reintroductions in England, Natural England …..Tens of thousands of man hours of work by a huge team of people have gone into consultations shaping this final application…..”We've now reached a point where we feel every piece of research has been done, every concern that can be raised has been raised, and the only way to move truly forward is with an intensively monitored trial reintroduction of a small number of cats”” (20). The hyperbole from the Trust was self-evident, but there was no mention that the huge, international team was no longer associated with the Trust.
There was mention by the Trust of some predictive work that the team had done on the potential predation of sheep in an article in the Daily Telegraph, but no admission from the Trust that the team that had done the work was no longer around (21). However, the hyperbole from the Trust was in overdrive –“This will be the number-one wildlife site in the UK by a mile. It blows sea eagles out of the water, and I love sea eagles. This is like sea eagles on steroids”. A journalist writing for the Guardian sought feebly to piggyback the sensationalised fears opponents had to trial release of lynx, to preceding reinstatements of other species, such as red kites, beaver, large blue butterfly and great bustards, and then collectively – and spuriously – referring to these as a rewilding. I commented that calling the return of a few butterflies rewilding rather missed the point of the ecological restoration that is hoped for when efforts are made to repopulate our native trophic ecology (22). Since the article was about the principle of lynx reinstatement, and the journalist had quoted a response from the Trust on sheep predation, I commented that the circumstances of the Trust’s proposal should have been investigated (23). I explained that as a member of the Project Stakeholder Forum, I had not been informed by the Trust that it had blocked the further consultation and additional reports needed to show feasibility, that it had blocked the need to increase governance, or that the high quality legal, veterinary, scientific and consultative services that been supplied free of charge, had dissociated from the Trust, nor that the Trust was putting in an application for a licence for a trial release. I noted again that the application would likely be incomplete, and thus premature, and would not be supported by those organisations that had been doing good work until the Trust had driven them away.
An oft repeated pattern of false accusation and vexatious pursuit
I had hoped my open censure would goad some investigative action by journalists, but instead it led to an oft repeated pattern of false accusation and vexatious pursuit by the Trust as a means to stifle criticism, a bullying intimidation to cover the Trusts own misconduct in its treatment of the team, a misconduct that the Trust did not openly admit to. It explained the reluctance there had been in the team of talking openly to those who wanted to know the true story. Thus the Freedom of Information Officer at the University where I have an honorary status as a member of the Wildland Research Institute contacted me to say that a confusing communication had come from the Trust that seemed to be complaining about comments that had been made in social media, although it was unclear who had made them, but my name had been mentioned. I explained to the University that it had no need to get involved, as I was a member in a personal capacity of the Project Stakeholder Forum, as was shown by the Terms of Reference of the Forum (4). However, after seeking clarity from the Trust, the University had no choice but to respond to the request to see my University emails where they mentioned the Trust. In a fit of pique, when no smoking gun was revealed by those emails, the Trust sent a letter of complaint to the University about the Freedom of Information Request responses which the University defended, possibly by claiming the request or complaint was vexatious, although I can’t document that (see personal grudges in (24)). There was a certain irony, as I had made a Freedom of Information request to Natural England for the licence application submitted by the Trust, as I wanted it in the public domain so that people could evaluate for themselves the merits of the application, what was missing, and for it to reveal how the application relied on the work that had been done by the team, and which the Trust had effectively appropriated for its own use when it pushed the team away (25). Unfortunately, Natural England took the view that it could not release that information while the application was still being considered. While this was going on, the Trust accused me of defamation and demanded my address, or that of a solicitor, as it intended to sue me (26). I had told the Trust that I had made that Freedom of Information request for the licence application, and received the reply that the Trust was extremely proud of it, and that it expected there would be a long queue of journalists, farming unions and other parties keen to see its application.
It was also ironic that Private Eye was the only publication that did seek the underlying story and publish it. The Eye was a regular read when I was a student in London in the early 70s, as it was scurrilously entertaining in its fearless exposure of malfeasance that others wouldn’t publish. Under the heading “LYNX EFFECT” an article in an early November 2017 edition opened with “A bid to reintroduce predatory wild lynx in Northumbria is in trouble as academic partners and technical advisers pull out over transparency and governance”(27). The article named the organisations that two of the members of the team worked for, University of Cumbria and AECOM, and explained that they were no longer working with the Trust because of those governance issues. A follow-on article in the Eye in May 2018 reported that the Northumberland National Park had sent a letter to Natural England that was highly critical of the application for a trial release of lynx because information was lacking on how the project would measure the impact of lynx on the rest of the forest ecosystem and wildlife, and also that not enough public consultation had been done (28). The Eye article also said that the University of Cumbria team that was no longer associated with the Trust because of governance issues, had now published its own report on the consultation in the Kielder area, including public meetings and door-to-door questioning of local residents about introducing lynx. The report indicated that most locals were unsure about the plans, so that application for the licence at that stage would be premature. The Eye article highlighted something from an appendix to the report that one lesson learned from involvement in the scheme was that the "structure and governance of the project and/or the participating organisations should be transparent"
I had been annoyed when I saw a document that had been produced by Officers of the Northumberland National Park Authority as briefing for a Special Meeting of the Authority that would discuss the proposals for the trial lynx release (29). The meeting was to be held in response to a request from Natural England for comment on the proposals, and took place last April. It was not that I disagreed with the eventual response to Natural England by the National Park Authority that the Eye had reported (30). It was the revelation in the Officer Report that while Natural England informed the Authority that it was not releasing all the application details under Freedom of Information because the case was in the determination phase, it had however provided Officers with some of the information in confidence (29). The Officers did not reveal what this was in their report to members of the Authority, as the Special Meeting was to be held in public. So much for the complete brush-off I got from Natural England when I requested details of the application (see above).
The delay in the release of the interim consultation report
More importantly, the Eye account of the availability of the interim consultation report put together by the team signified the end of an extremely frustrating delay in its release, from what I was led to believe from the Forum meeting would be around June or July 2017 when it would have been ready, until May 2018 when it appeared on the University of Cumbria website (31). It was as the Eye had reported: the Executive Summary of the consultation report said that there had been insufficient communication with those groups likely to be most affected by the project, such as the farming and forestry sector (32). It noted that this was one of the key points in the IUCN guidelines on determining the social feasibility of a proposed reintroduction of a species (Section 5.2.3 in (14)) as well, as for key areas of project policy around such as livestock predation compensation schemes and mitigation measures where they would expect to see genuine co-development of policy and protocols with the farming community. It noted that while this work had started in Kielder, it would take considerable time and effort to establish a trusting relationship with some of the communities in and around the Kielder area, referencing another point in the IUCN guidelines on determining the social feasibility that indicated that understanding the “extreme and internally contradictory attitudes of such key stakeholders provides the basis for developing public relations…..orienting the public in favour of a translocation” (see Section 5.2.2 in (14). It was no surprise that the Executive Summary concluded that “any licence application at this stage would be premature and would threaten the longer-term viability of the project” (32).
This greater focus on those most likely to be adversely affected was also a key part of a valuable analysis carried out in an Annex to the report that mapped the consultation activity between August 2016 to May 2017 against the 10 points in the IUCN guidelines on determining the social feasibility of a proposed reintroduction of a species (see Section 5.2 in (14)). Thus in Section 5.2.5 of Annex IX of the consultation report, there is stated a requirement to ensure that special measures are undertaken to counter attitudes in local communities against release that are derived from a historical disconnection from the species once it had become locally extinct (32). The authors considered this to be a relevant issue as lynx had been absent for over 1,300 years. Based on the data they had collected in the consultation, they regarded it as a key issue that needed to be addressed in ongoing consultation activities, making a much stronger case to the local community, based on extensive ecological feasibility work, for how lynx would fit into the wider Kielder socio-ecological landscape. Under Section 5.2.9 in this Annex, on an assessment of whether multiple parties involved in translocations are effectively aligned for fear of “unproductive conflict” between parties, where the authors of the report say that agreements were never formalized between project partner organizations and the Trust, and it was disagreement over project governance that caused the cessation of consultation activities by the authors (32). The implication of this was given that if further initiatives were to be undertaken then “Structure and governance of the project and/or the participating organisations should be transparent”. In Section 5.2.10, there was the requirement that the conservation gain from a species translocation should be balanced against the obligation to avoid collateral harm to other species, ecosystems or human interests. The analysis noted that data from the consultation highlighted that ecological feasibility and impact on native wildlife and human interests were key concerns among the community. Thus detailed ecological and feasibility work was planned, but had remained to their knowledge incomplete (32).
The content of this consultation report was supposed to have guided the activities of the project before it made its application to Natural England, the Annex seemingly identifying how incomplete the application had been and therefore premature. The delay in the consultation report appearing was because the University of Cumbria had been very wary of allowing it to be posted so that its conclusions would become publicly available, due to the vexatious intimidation of one of its academic staff by the Trust that had to play itself out over time (and see earlier). I can’t document this, or the intimidation by the Trust of other members of the team, and so it would only be hearsay for me to give any details that I know that led to the unravelling. It did, however, make for a climate of fear that was deliberately intended by the Trust, and which was highly oppressive as the attacks by the Trust were worked through people’s employers or regulatory bodies. My strongest emotion about all this is the betrayal by the Trust, and outrage at the way it treated the team. I think it insufferable that this bullying treatment is not known in the public domain, and that the strongest rebuff, and justice for the team, would be full disclosure. It’s not as if there is no track record of the pattern of intimidatory behaviour of one of the Trust’s principals, as others have been threatened with legal action (33-37) and there is evidence of bullying (38) and egocentrism (39).
Rejection of the licence application
Many newspaper articles covered the reasons for why the Trust’s license application had been refused (40-52) but I’m going with the account in Private Eye in recognition of its persistence in tracking the story (53). It made a point of the fact that the Trust was not a charity, as it wanted to refer to its earlier report that academic partners and technical advisers had already abandoned the scheme in 2017, citing issues with governance and transparency, but that the Trust had carried on fundraising and generating publicity. The Eye noted that environment secretary Michael Gove said in his rejection letter that he did not have confidence that the project could be completed in practical terms, that it relied too heavily on volunteers, that it was unclear how the project would be funded, and that there wasn't a proper exit strategy if things went wrong. Gove had also said the lack of involvement from landowners and managers in the area, including the Forestry Commission, was concerning. The Eye then described as scathing the advice provided to Gove by Natural England, which had struggled to get proper technical evidence from the project, or evidence of suitable capability and experience.
Let’s look at other scathing comments in Natural England’s advice on the application (54). On planning, the Trust was comprised of only two individuals, and the proposed project was entirely reliant on volunteers; no formal partnership had been established with other relevant organisations, which would have been expected to provide governance and to deliver a complex project of this nature; no further technical reports or evidence were produced, and much of the requested evidence post-application was difficult to evaluate or verify; there was no securely held budget to deliver the project as described; there was a lack of detail around personnel availability and the equipment held so that the exit strategy could be executed in a timely fashion; and no funds were set aside to deliver the exit strategy. Natural England concluded on this evidence that the project lacked organisational resilience. On Ecological feasibility and risk assessment, an ecological impact assessment that would have allowed completion of a Habitats Regulations Assessment and assessment of possible impacts on Sites of Special Scientific Interest and protected species was absent (Natural England said that the Trust had erroneously stated that it did not consider these necessary for a trial); and there had been no consideration of a number of environmental initiatives ongoing in the area that ideally should have been joined up with the Trust’s proposal into a more strategic or collaborative approach. In the letter of refusal that Gove sent to the Trust, these other initiatives were the action by the Forestry Commission to manage and restore habitats and ecosystem functions to enhance biodiversity, including the release of hundreds of water vole and the removal of mink from the Tyne; monitoring the return and spread of pine martens to understand options for their recovery; and the significant recolonisation by a number of bird species (55).
On social feasibility and risk assessment, it noted that consultation with national and local stakeholders had been undertaken and that this initial work was robust, carried out by competent consultants and reported. However, further engagement with the local community, recommended in the consultants’ report, had not been followed up (54). This of course had been the work of the team before it had been pushed away, and it had been their recommendation. Natural England said that landowners were not actively engaged or contacted for basic access permission or even had their permission sought before the application had been made; the farming community had not actively been involved in developing any measures to mitigate risk; that while a local stakeholder group was referenced, it was not clear whether this was active and representative of the community or what the terms of reference of the group were; similarly, a national stakeholder group was also reported to have been set up, but again its role and membership was uncertain (I was a member of this); that the applicant was not working in partnership or collaborating with other organisations sufficiently to secure local support for the project; and that the lack of demonstrated local buy-in also failed to show that the risk of persecution had been managed down to an acceptable level. On release and implementation, there had been insufficient information provided in the methodology for acquisition, release and monitoring of lynx, and there were also concerns about the release strategy, in particular the release site location; it was not clear how the trial would provide scientifically robust evidence to inform a decision on a full reintroduction as there was no coherent plan in place for monitoring lynx or impacts on other species, habitats or people; and that there was no academic or other independent scientific oversight proposed to ensure objectivity and that scientific outputs were credible.
The failings of the application
Natural England’s conclusions were that several key work areas had not been continued as far as to provide the results or level of evidence required, and other aspects were not followed up at all. It said that despite requests for further information and explanation of the need for evidence to underpin various aspects of the proposal, the Trust had not provided the necessary detail. The Trust had inferred that these could be worked up later, but Natural England thought this was not an acceptable approach for a project where a high degree of confidence was needed so that it had been well thought out with contingency plans for the range of possible scenarios. Moreover, it did not meet the necessary standards set out in the IUCN guidelines, such that a significant amount of further work would be required to bring the application up to the standard that could be considered for a licence. You can decide for yourself whether the Trust made any credible response to these reasons for rejection, and if it was a sensible approach to accuse the environment secretary of being ill-informed of local opinion in the trial area such that it would be “challenging” for Gove to “make a truly objective and impartial decision” (56,57).
If you have grasped the chronological order of events I have described since February 2017, you will recognise that the likely failings of the application, subsequently identified by Natural England, were known by the team and myself before the application was submitted, as they constituted the remaining work that had been planned by the team before it had been so carelessly and violently sloughed off by the Trust, and thus the work had not subsequently been carried out before the application went in. The Project Stakeholder Forum had also been sloughed off, even though it appears it was cited in the application. It could appear frightening, in spite of the thorough trashing that the application received, that the Trust is quoted in a local newspaper that it was “more confident than ever the proposal will eventually be successful” and would use the reasons for rejection as a “road map” to resubmit as soon as possible (49). Similar effusion from the Trust was reported in the Daily Express, that it was confident it could satisfy Gove’s “reservations” and go through the points made prior to resubmitting a second draft application next year – “this is only a delay to our plans and the whole team are as committed as ever” (46). I suspect this characteristic braggadocio from the Trust was in light of the comment in Gove’s letter that the “government remains committed to providing opportunities for the reintroduction of formerly native species, as outlined in the 25 Year Environment Plan” (55). Except that Gove certainly wasn’t thinking about a resubmission from the Trust, as he qualified that commitment with this – “where proposals are comprehensive and there are clear environmental and socioeconomic benefits”
This is not the context or time for me to venture how we get past this false start for lynx reinstatement.
Mark Fisher 29 December 2018
(1) Lynx reintroduction in Kielder Forest. Correspondence, DEFRA 4 December 2018
(2) Animales de uñas - animals with claws, Self-willed land April 2017
(3) One more step towards the trial release of lynx, Self-willed land June 2016
(4) LYNX UK TRUST - Project Stakeholder Forum Terms of Reference. November 2016
(5) LIFE Lynx Palatinate Forest, Germany – Ver. 4 March 2017
(6) A positive outlook on large carnivores in Europe, Self-willed land March 2017
(7) Officers, LYNX UK TRUST COMMUNITY INTEREST COMPANY - Company number 09386570, Companies House
(8) Persons with significant control, LYNX UK TRUST COMMUNITY INTEREST COMPANY - Company number 09386570, Companies House
(9) Lynx could return to Britain this year after absence of 1,300 years, Damian Carrington, Guardian 7 July 2017
(10) Eurasian lynx: Plan to return it to Kielder Forest to be submitted, BBC News 8 July 2017
(11) The lynx could be reintroduced to the UK within months after a 1,300-year absence, Chris Baynes, Independent 9 July 2017
(12) Lynx could be re-introduced to Britain by the end of 2017 after an absence of 1,300 years, Carl Stroud, Sun 10 July 2017
(13) Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) Standard, Natural England Standard 2012-2017
(14) IUCN/SSC (2013). Guidelines for Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations. Version 1.0. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN Species Survival Commission
(15) The Scottish Code for Conservation Translocations, Best Practice Guidelines for Conservation Translocations in Scotland, National Species Reintroduction Forum 2014
(16) How to reintroduce carnivores and alienate people: a word of caution, Peter Cooper Wildlife 11 July 2017
(17) Claws out as Kielder lynx campaigners drift apart, 17th July 2017
(18) Everyone is saying membership is the future of journalism. Here’s how you can put it into practice. Unbreaking News. Rob Wijnberg, The Correspondent 16 October 2018
(19) Our 10 Founding Principles, The Correspondent
(20) Plans submitted for lynx to be reintroduced at Kielder Forest, ITV News 17 July 2017
(21) Will the lynx help the largest forest in England claw back some tourists? Boudicca Fox-Leonard, Daily Telegraph 30 July 2017
(22) The lynx effect: are sheep farmers right to fear for their flocks? Daniel Lavelle, Guardian 23 July 2017
(23) MarkNFisher. Comment to "The lynx effect: are sheep farmers right to fear for their flocks?" Daniel Lavelle, Guardian 23 July 2017
(24) Dealing with vexatious requests (section 14) Freedom of Information Act, Information Commissioner's Office
(25) Application for trial release of lynx in England, Mark Fisher - Freedom of Information request to Natural England, What do they know? 30 September 2017
(26) Mark Fisher (@markwilderness) Twitter 5 December 2018
(27) Lynx Effect, Wildlife, Private Eye #1456, pg. 38, 3 November 2017
(28) Cat Fight, Wild Lynx, Private Eye #1470, 17 May 2018
(29) Item 1: Trial Re-introduction of Lynx to Kielder Forest, Northumberland National Park Authority Special Meeting 27 April 2018. Officer report 20 April 2018
(30) Response to Natural England: Trial Re-introduction of Lynx to Kielder Forest, Northumberland National Park Authority 2 May 2018
(31) Convery, Ian, Smith, Darrell J., Brady, Deborah, Hawkins, Sally, Mayhew, Michael, van Maanen, Erwin, Iversen, Sara, White, Chris, Eagle, Adam and Lipscombe, Steve (2017) Community consultation report: Kielder. (Unpublished) Deposited 10 May 2018
(32) Convery, Ian, Smith, Darrell J., Brady, Deborah, Hawkins, Sally, Mayhew, Michael, van Maanen, Erwin, Iversen, Sara, White, Chris, Eagle, Adam and Lipscombe, Steve (2017) Community consultation report: Kielder. (Unpublished)
(33) Heather-Louise Devey (@feraheather) Twitter 9 November 2018
(34) Heather-Louise Devey (@feraheather) Twitter 10 November 20182018
(35) Dr John Dixon HT RACON (@htscam) Twitter 9 November 2018
(36) Paul Paterson (@tighnabruaich1) Twitter 10 November 2018
(37) Michael G Willett (@mgwillett) Twitter 10 November 2018
(38) Joe Brown, Facebook 19 August 2017
(39) Paul Patterson (@tighnabruaich1) Twitter 4 December 2018
(40) Plans to reintroduce wild lynx in Northumberland have been REJECTED, Press Association, ChronicleLive 4 December 2018
(41) Bid to reintroduce lynx to Britain rejected by Government, Emily Beament, Scotsman 4 December 2018
(42) Northumberland lynx trial rejected by government, BBC News 4 December 2018
(43) Plans to reintroduce lynx to Northumberland rejected, Janet Hall, Northumberland Gazette 4 December 2018
(44) Lynx effect will not happen in Kielder Forest, Maureen Hodges, News and Star 4th December 2018
(45) Gove bans the reintroduction of Lynx after 1,000 years over fears sheep will be savaged, Victoria Bell, MAILONLINE 5 December 2018
(46) Lynx campaigners REFUSE to give up on big cat comeback despite Michael Gove set back, Stuart Winter, Daily Express 5 December 2018
(47) Lynx plans for Kielder Forest rejected, ITV News 5 December 2018
https://www.itv.com/news/border/2018-12-05/lynx-plans-for-kielder-forest-rejected/'Enormous relief': Lynx reintroduction plans rejected by Defra, 5 December 2018
(48) Lynx bid for Borders reintroduction is rejected, David Knox, Peebleshire News 5 December 2018
(49) 'This is just the start': Lynx could still be reintroduced in Northumberland, Sean Seddon, ChronicleLive 5 December 2018
(50) Reintroduction of lynx to UK vetoed by Defra, Gemma Mackenzie. Press and Journal December 6, 2018
(51) Gove is right to keep the lynx out of Northumberland, Camilla Swift, The Spectator 7 December 2018
(52) Gove cans lynx plan. Kelly Henaughen, The Scottish Farmer 8 December 2018
(53) Missing lynx, Wild Cats, Private Eye #1486, 21 December 2018
(54) Lynx reintroduction in Kielder Forest: Natural England advice to the Secretary of State, DEFRA Correspondence 4 December 2018
(55) Letter from Secretary of State to Dr Paul O'Donoghue, Lynx UK Trust. DEFRA 30th November 2018
(56) Lynx UK Trust, Facebook 18 December 2018
(57) Trust hits out at Government over failed bid to reintroduce lynx in Northumberland, Jack Elsom, ChronicleLive 18 December 2018