SIR — Having been born, bred, raised and worked in Tynedale, and predominantly the north Tyne, I feel qualified enough to comment on the proposed release of an alpha predator into Keilder Forest, to roam at will into both sides of the border.

Though I now reside in the "next door" county, I can plainly see the edge of the forest at Christawberry, the sight of a mass slaughter of wild goats pre-planting, which caused an uproar among locals.

There are, however, wild goats elsewhere, within the forest boundary that are studied and logged in good fashion, easy prey!

Kielder, with its manmade "lake", dark sky and easy access to the wild has become a great attraction and welcomes hoardes of visitors ever year, bringing much-needed income to the area.

Would lynx, I wonder, affect this in any way?

I suggest not, they would rarely, if ever, be seen (remember I know this vast area well), though their presence would be felt, any predator will take the easiest prey - fact!

Solitary animals, or those in small groups, are not in this category - those that live and group together, a threat looms, ie, easy prey every time.

Apart from the ethical side of this proposed release, I see nothing but problems to the people who live and work in the area, whose forebears have eked a living for generations and cared for the countryside and its indigenous wildlife, with a passion - they should not be ignored!

I would ask why should a handful of people without connection to the area be given the right to introduce a non-native predator, currently a criminal act, against the will of the native inhabitants.

For their whims, they could consider other sites, which would ideally suit their purpose, and not have the implications.

For example, I think I have knowledge of a perfect release site closer I think to the domiciles of the Lynx Trust's members so far easier for them. An enclosed area of 142ha, more than 4000 trees, meadowland, a lake, an abundance of prey (also non-native grey squirrels), huge visitor numbers too, though these would have a far greater chance to see the elusive beast when it took the odd domestic animal, no worries, thought, the Lynx Trust will no doubt offer insurance against this, to every dog and cat in the UK.

Where is this lynx haven? Hyde Park, of course, in the heart of London.

Ridiculous, is it? Think it out and compare, I see it less so than the Kielder proposal.

Final word to the Lynx Trust - go and bother someone else, our countryside is not broken, so we don't need anybody to fix it.

Don Robertson

Mount Pleasant