PROPOSALS to re-introduce species including lynx, wolves and sturgeon to Scotland make "no sense" according to crofters, who warn that it will threaten existing wildlife and livestock.

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) said it was strongly opposed to the "re-wilding" of Scotland after a charity called for the return of beavers, wild boar, bison, cranes, dalmatian pelicans, sturgeon, bluefin tuna, lynx and eventually wolves, grey whales, humpbacks and sperm whales.

Rewilding Britain, an alliance of green charities and public bodies including the John Muir Trust and Cairngorms National Park, want to restore one million hectares of Britain to its natural state within a century.

However, the re-introduction of species has already sparked opposition from farmers and now the SCF has branded the plan "blinkered".

Fiona Mandeville, chair of the SCF, said: “You can’t just turn the clock back and parachute species in to a changed environment.

“Of course there are iconic species that need protection such as the red squirrel, but the re-introduction of large predators such as eagles and wolves, and destructive pests such as beavers, makes no sense as the environment has changed so much since they were last here.

For example, when sea eagles used to populate Scotland there were plenty of in-shore fish for them to feed on. They were then re-introduced when there is a severe shortage of their natural food so they prey on livestock instead. If you are going to re-introduce species, you need to re-create their natural environment first.”

She added: “I know traditional small-scale farmers in Sweden who find their livelihoods threatened by re-introduced wolves preying on stock. Some have given up farming as a result. There are enough threats already to crofting agriculture without this”.

The National Farmers Union has also criticised the "reckless" scheme.

NFU Scottish vice president, Andrew McCornick, said: "Farmers are justifiably concerned at what the introduction of predators could mean for their livestock, particularly the many thousands of sheep kept on Scotland's hills and uplands.

Rewilding has been inspired by environmentalist George Monbiot.

He said: "The changes we're calling for would be considered unexceptional almost anywhere else in Europe, where in many countries populations of beavers, boar, lynx and wolves are already recovering rapidly.