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Cantons call for rethink on lynx

A group of 16 cantons is calling on the environment minister, Moritz Leuenberger, to amend the government's policy on the reintroduction of the lynx into the wild.

This content was published on March 7, 2000 - 00:51

A group of 16 cantons is calling on the environment minister, Moritz Leuenberger, to amend the government's policy on the reintroduction of the lynx into the wild. They welcome the move to extend the big cat's territory to eastern parts of Switzerland, but also want to have more say in how to control the local population of the animal.

The representative of the 16, canton Berne's economics director, Elisabeth Zölch, said they all supported the ministry's plan to protect the lynx, but they wanted cantons to have more responsibility for keeping their numbers down to a manageable level.

The cantons feel that the recent dramatic growth in the lynx population in western Switzerland is placing a burden on the region. They say they want to be able to decide when to shoot a lynx, but agree it should be according to a strict set of criteria set by the federal government, and to which all cantons had to adhere.

They want the big cat to be an important part of the local fauna in the long-term and are urging the government to start relocating part of the lynx population to eastern Switzerland this year. This would prevent over-population in the north western Alps.

They are also calling for the absolute protection of the lynx to be relaxed once their existence has been secured. The cantons say that regular action will need to be taken to keep numbers at a desired level without undermining the animal's existence.

Efforts to reestablish the lynx in the wild have met with resistance from farmers and hunters. Last weekend, Berne's animal hospital said that a female lynx and her young, recently found dead in canton Vaud, had been poisoned with tranquilisers.

From staff and wire reports

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