Lynx could be reintroduced to Britain for the first time in 1,300 years

Ruth Doherty
Lynx could be reintroduced to Britain for the first time in 1300 years
Lynx could be reintroduced to Britain for the first time in 1300 years




A UK project to reintroduce lynx into the British countryside for the first time in 1,300 years could see them at three sites - one in Scotland, and two in England.

The Lynx UK Trust is looking for its 'rewilding' project to be approved, and has its sights set on three privately-owned, unfenced estates in Norfolk, Cumbria and Aberdeenshire.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the trust has launched a survey to determine public reaction to the plan, and then it will lodge a formal application with Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the government agencies that licence new releases.

The paper adds that if the plan gets the go-ahead, six Eurasian lynx wearing GPS trackers will be released later this year at each of the sites.

Supporters believe the lynx will have a beneficial effect on the forest ecosystems, helping to control deer, which can damage woodland.

Critics, particularly farmers, fear the cats will attack their livestock. It is the third largest predator in Europe, behind the brown bear and the wolf.

But, according to the BBC, Dr Paul O'Donoghue, chief scientific advisor for Lynx UK Trust, said: "As a very dedicated forest animal, lynx will rarely come across agricultural animals."

He added that a full subsidy programme would be in place for farmers near reintroduction sites.

On its website, the Lynx Trust UK says: "The Eurasian lynx, an original native of the British Isles, is a medium sized cat that has been forced out of much of Western Europe by habitat destruction and human persecution over the last 2000 years. The last of the British lynx disappeared around the year 700.

"Focused on hunting deer species and smaller prey such as rabbit and hare, the lynx is a legendarily elusive creature, known by ancient cultures around the world as a mysterious 'Keeper of Secrets' that rarely leaves the forest.

"This solitary and secretive nature means that they present no threat to humans and it is exceptionally rare for them to predate on agricultural animals. Their presence will return a vital natural function to our ecology helping control numbers of deer and a variety of agricultural pest species whilst protecting forestry from deer damage caused by overpopulation.

"Reintroductions into other European countries have been a remarkable success, with the best managed programs constructing whole new eco-friendly industries such as wildlife tourism around their presence, breathing new economic life into remote rural communities.

"With no natural threats and bringing a great range of benefits to humans, the time is perfect to bring back the lynx to the British Isles."





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