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Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK
Call for wolves to be reintroduced
Wolves
The last wolf was shot in the 18th century
One of Scotland's wealthiest landowners has called for wolves and wild lynx to be reintroduced to help keep red deer numbers down.

Paul van Vlissingen, who owns a 32,000 hectare estate at Letterewe, Achnasheen, Ross-shire, in the Western Highlands, commissioned a three-year study costing about 300,000 on deer and their impact in the wild.

Mr Vlissingen said he had employed five scientists, including UK experts on deer, on the project.

He said culling deer had a low long-term effect on deer numbers, and that the number of deer in Scotland is preventing the regrowth of vegetation.


There is enormous eco-tourism building in the world, and Scotland is losing out

Paul van Vlissingen

Mr Vlissingen said: "I think that something that could be debated is to divide Scotland into voluntary zones - some areas where you have practically eliminated deer, those areas where you want a specific natural regeneration of forests, and other areas where you manage deer as part of the concept of wild land.

"In that concept I think wolves and lynx would fit very well, and I can promise you that if you do your research you will find that there are no known cases of anybody ever being eaten by wolves in Europe in the past century.

"There are thousands of people who live amongst the wolves in Canada and Alaska and that's no problem at all."

The study claims Scotland has 300,000 red deer which are preventing regeneration of woodland and shrubs.

Mr Vlissingen dismissed culling as a means of control.

Red deer
The landowner wants to see deer numbers cut

He said: "The culling has been happening for many years now and the official policy is not effective."

The last wolf in Scotland was shot in the 18th century. Lynx have been absent since prehistoric times.

Mr Vlissingen said he believed reintroduction of both creatures would boost tourist numbers.

He said: "Scotland has to create more excitement than a monster in Loch Ness - we have to create in Scotland more excitement about our rural areas.

"There is enormous eco-tourism building in the world, and Scotland is losing out."

The study has been made available to MSPs, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Deer Commission for Scotland and deer management groups.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Craig Anderson reports
"It's a very interesting debate"
See also:

16 Aug 01 | Media reports
09 May 00 | Science/Nature
25 Apr 00 | Science/Nature
02 Apr 00 | Europe
24 Feb 00 | Europe
17 Sep 99 | Sheffield 99
Internet links:


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