Proposed lynx reintroduction

The Lynx UK Trust requested permission to introduce up to six of the big cats to the Kielder Forest in Northumberland.

The Trust said the animals, which can grow to 4.2 feet in length, belong in Britain and there is a “moral obligation” to bring them back.

The proposed plan would initially involve six lynx, four females and two males, imported from Sweden and fitted with GPS tracking collars for a five-year trial.

The Trust applied to Natural England for permission to release the cats after it carried out a 20-month consultation of locals and wildlife organizations.

Conservationists estimate a population of 400 lynxes could be supported, and find a useful role helping keep the growing deer herds in check.

The group chose the Northumberland forest for the trial due to its large size, few roads, and abundance of deer, the lynx’s favorite prey.

There is no record attack of lynx upon humans. The Trust claims the animals are not dangerous to people, and they would be fitted with GPS collars to ensure they weren’t wandering too close to towns. In the past they have said that any sheep deaths would be compensated.

The Trust said that bringing them back would help solve the issue of over-population of deer, as they have no natural predators.

The group’s plan is the latest in a series of reintroduction projects for the predator, which have re-established populations from Spain to the Alps.

No date has been set for the proposed reintroduction but they cats could return to the UK by the end of 2017 if the plans are approved.

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