THE elusive forest-dwelling wild lynx ( Lynx lynx) has been extinct in Britain for more than 1 300 years.
But now the creature could roam the woods of England and Scotland once again, as part of the most ambitious “rewilding” project yet attempted in Britain.
If the Lynx UK Trust’s scheme is approved, the large cats, which prey on deer as well as rabbit and hare, will be released onto three private, unfenced estates in Norfolk, Cumbria and Aberdeenshire.
“The lynx is one of the most enigmatic, beautiful cats on the planet,” Dr Paul O’Donoghue, a scientific adviser to the trust, said.
“The British countryside is dying and lynx will bring it back to life.”
The Eurasian lynx is the largest lynx species, with powerful, long legs, with large webbed and furred paws. Due to its solitary and secretive nature, it does not present a threat to humans.
The trust has launched a public consultation to determine public reaction to the plan, after which it will lodge a formal application with Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the agencies that license such releases.
If the plan gets the green light, four to six Eurasian lynx wearing GPS tracking collars would be released later this year at each of the sites, all of which are rich in deer and tree cover.
One of the chosen sites is near Norfolk’s Thetford Forest, one of England’s largest and wildest woodlands.
The other is in Ennerdale, a remote valley in the Lake District.
Lynx could help control Britain’s population of more than one million wild deer, which lack natural predators.
– The Telegraph