Home of the London Colney News

Wild Life Leaflet
Vipers Bugloss
Egyptian geese
Pine Martin
Colney Nature Watch
A series of articles on the wild life in London Colney

Lynx lived in Britain till the time the Romans departed. I've seen them at Whipsnade, and at the Cat Protection Trust near Welwyn. Lynx are members of the cat family. Its face looks like a cat's, except for the tufts on its ears. Its body is about a half as long again as a cat's, and it has a short tail. Lynx are yellow with brown spots, and in winter they become paler.
Lynx thrive in Scandinavia and what was once the USSR, and they live in isolated areas throughout Europe. The European Community wants to see animals reintroduced to areas they once lived. If lynx were reintroduced to Britain - would they survive?
Lynx like to live in coniferous forest or mixed woodland, where they can hunt their favourite food - deer, hares, rabbits and ground dwelling birds like pheasant. They make their dens in caves or discarded badger setts. If lynx were reintroduced, they would need sufficient woodland for them to hunt and breed, without being so near towns that they would alarm local residents. People might regard introduced species with favour if tourists came along to see them, and spent money locally.
The red kite was reintroduced, and is doing well. The Large Blue butterfly was introduced to managed sites after the last colony laid infertile eggs in 1979, and the European Crane is again thriving in wetlands near Fakenham. There are over forty members of the cat family, and except for the domestic cat, all are under threat. Unless the areas they inhabit are carefully managed, and people prevented from moving into the areas they hunt and live, we could well see many wild cats becoming extinct in the wild.
Several rivers flow through Bangladesh on their way to the sea. They carry silt from the Himalayas, which is deposited as sand banks in the Bay of Bengal. Many of these sandbanks are remote from human habitation, and plants quickly establish themselves. Insects come along, and later, birds to eat them. Tigers come to hunt the birds, and people are unwilling to colonise these new islands because of their fear of tigers. So tigers are helping with nature conservation, because sand banks which are made into paddy fields soon vanish in the heavy rains.
Species come and go. Older people will tell of the time red squirrel were common, and it was an event to see a gray one. Something similar is happening to ladybirds today. The commonest ladybird is the orange-coloured seven spot ladybird. However, another species is now living in the places the seven spot ones dwelt - the Harlequin Ladybird. It is slightly larger than the seven spot, and has many large black spots. Like the seven spot - they eat mainly aphids, but they also eat seven spot ladybirds! This year I've seen three Harlequin ladybirds. I've never seen any previously. So what does the future hold for ladybirds? We don't know - only time will tell.