Yesterday, Lynx UK announced the results of their public survey to assess the level of support for plans to re-introduce wild lynx around the UK.
The proposal has attracted significant public support, with 91% of the 9500 surveyed voting in favour of the proposed release of which 84% said they would like to see this happening within the next 12 months.
Potential release trial sites under consideration are Aberdeenshire, Cumbria, Galloway, Kielder, Norfolk and Wales. The trust hopes to release four to six lynx at each trial site. Opposition comes primarily from the agricultural community, who fear the animals would threaten their livelihoods by predating on livestock.
This is what Lynx UK had to say on their facebook post yesterday:
The survey we launched just over a month ago is what we call a pro-active survey; people have to make an effort to do it so it gives you an idea of what people who feel strongly about reintroduction, positive or negative, think. We had about 9,500 responses to this, a really big number in terms of opinion polls.
Of course, it is not perfectly representative of the UK population and inevitably ends up weighted in certain ways because you can’t control who does it, however it turns out our data is unfairly weighted in a couple of interesting ways. Rural communities make up 20% of the UK, but 50% of our sample, and young people aged 18-35 make up about 25% of the UK and 50% of our sample. So, our figures are weighted towards those who will live alongside lynx, and those who will live with the long term effects of a reintroduction, two important groups of people.
Out of interest, we also ran a typical opinion poll (a “passive” sample) recording a representative survey of UK people; just over 1,000 people roughly matching age ranges and so forth of the UK population. The figures here recorded a very high “Don’t Know” response, so we filtered them out of the below numbers just to get some clarity of opinion.
Amazingly, the figures weighted towards rural communities and young people came out most positive, but the positivity overall has really stunned us; positive responses are above those recorded for beaver reintroductions in Scotland, and negative responses are a really long way below those recorded for beavers.
And with all that said, here’s some pro-active data; 91% back a trial reintroduction of lynx in the UK, 84% believe it should happen within the next 12 months.