Lynx UK Trust, the group seeking permission to release six lynx in the Kielder Forest which straddles the Border, has announced that it would insure all sheep, pets and humans in the country against lynx attacks.
Stating that discussions over the reintroduction of the cat had polarised opinion between public support and concerns from the farming industry over the threat to sheep, the organisation’s adviser, Dr Paul O’Donoghue, maintained that attacks would be few and far between.
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However, he said that in order to allay sheep producers’ fears that a compensation scheme would be impossible to finance, the trust was funding an insurance policy through a speciality division of Lloyd’s of London that would insure the entire sheep population against lynx attacks throughout the proposed trial period.
Stating that claims would be paid to farmers at “above market value”, he said that while reasonable proof of cause of death would be required for the policy, these would be obvious in the rare case of a Lynx attack.
“This will hopefully give them [farmers] a great deal of confidence if the largest insurance market in the world is offering to cover any kind of attacks on livestock by lynx during a trial.”
Adding that the organisation still stood by its offers to fund farmer’s grants and anti-predation studies, and that the insurance offer went far further than anything which was available in the many areas of Europe where sheep farmers co-existed with lynx, O’Donoghue said: “We can make this work for everyone.”