Stakeholder perspectives on the prospect of Lynx Lynx lynx reintroduction in Scotland.

Published online
06 Sep 2023
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
People and Nature

Bavin, D. & MacPherson, J. & Crowley, S. L. & McDonald, R. A.
Contact email(s)

Publication language
Scotland & UK


Conservation translocations are complex and challenging, but are frequently employed to tackle biodiversity decline. Large predator translocations can be particularly emotive and contentious, in part because they present actual or perceived risks to the safety and livelihoods of people. Understanding the social feasibility of conservation translocations is imperative, and provides opportunities to identify and address these risks. In Britain, the Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx is the most frequently raised prospect for large carnivore reintroduction. We used Q-Methodology to explore stakeholder perspectives on the prospect of lynx reintroduction to Scotland. We identified five perspectives: Lynx for Change was supportive of lynx reintroduction, feeling that lynx could facilitate ecosystem restoration. Lynx for Economy was also supportive, anticipating economic benefits to local communities. No to Lynx was strongly opposed, perceiving that humans were fulfilling the roles of absent large carnivores. Scotland is not Ready supported the conversation but perceived prohibitive socio-ecological barriers. We are not Convinced was not satisfied that an adequate case for biodiversity gain had been made, but was open to further exploration of the potential. There were important areas of divergence among the perspectives over the potential impacts on sheep farming and the degree to which environments should be managed by people or encouraged to self-regulate. There was a consensus on a lack of trust between stakeholder groups, which was primarily rooted in participants' experiences of previous wildlife reintroductions and the contemporary management of recovering predators. However, there was also consensus that, should lynx reintroduction continue to be explored, a participatory, cross-sectoral approach could address these trust issues, help manage existing and emergent conflicts, and build knowledge collaboratively. We provide a foundation for future dialogue between stakeholders over the prospective reintroduction of the lynx to Scotland and recommend a stakeholder-focused participatory process as the next step. Our findings have wider relevance for wildlife reintroductions, species recovery and conservation conflicts elsewhere.

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